It’s almost 5am and with just four hours of sleep since I arrived home and my head hit the pillow I am wondering why I am so wide awake. My first flight yesterday was flawless, my second made up for it. Not only was it delayed for 5 ½ hours, the plane was bounced and tossed from pillar to post the whole trip. But then I asked myself if I had ever flown with United when the plane was on time and couldn’t really remember one.
Travelling to and from the US is always a 24 hour trip by the time you have changed and arrived at your final destination and delays and transfers are a part of it I am afraid. When I stand and watch the number of planes take off the runways of different airfields I am always amazed at the frequencies with just minutes and even seconds between each one. The security conveyor belts form ever greater circuitous routes at this time when tourism begins moving toward its peaks and the heightened issues surrounding travel and airports increases. Apart from the odd character failure in individuals I am amazed at how very controlled people are.
I always feel a sense of purpose travelling back and forth between the two continents. It’s as if as I grow older I feel an awareness that whatever I have learned and mastered in my life must be passed on as simply and as quickly as possible. The next generation and to my fellow woodworkers may well find it of value to them in their own personal growth. When I look at an old cottage in England and see details that inch by inch become lost, I want to draw it, photograph it and preserve it before it gets buried beneath modernity. That’s why the written works of people like Aldren Watson, John Seymour and Eric Sloane are so valuable to us now. They captured and froze what they knew—gleanings from their lives and of others long gone; whole phrases, simple terms and even single words that stop us and suspend us for a brief moment to encapsulate important issues of sustainability as enveloped spheres of creative artisanry. Artisanry now slipping from our memories in the present into forgotteness.
New Legacy woodworking, the schools and the written work I am involved with will hopefully stem some of the ebb and flow and allow enough swell to impact the lives of young woodworkers searching for answers. If we make things designed to last from skills passed on designed to last using tools and methods designed to last we might stem the tide of consumerism at least in woodworking that says change the screwgun (drill-driver UK)colour, we must sell more and more and more. Increase the battery power to strip out more screws and then change from Philips heads to square heads to torx heads and bit drivers to resolve the problems we only had because we needed more torque at faster rates so we could get out of the workshop faster when in actuality we quite liked being in the workshop before we made it so, well, industrial.
As long as we pursue machine-only woodworking, we eliminate children and young people from the workplace at home. Think about it.