Texture worked in life revealed in wood

It’s an amazing thing to see the texture of people in the things they make and this happens because the way their character is woven into their being and this character is expDSC_0001ressed in textures that come from the way they work with the tools they use.

DSC_0028Men and women texture their work with effort and meaning. They work chisels and saws into wood to effect certain cuts, unknown results happen at first and then they predict what will happen before they even pick up the chisel. It’s a gradual process of textured change that transforms lumps of wood into shaped and textured work. Squareness becomes shape and surfaces smoothed have undulation imperceptible to the eye but available to touch. Sometimes this is reversed and visible texture impresses the eye. The brain rests upon these undulating, rhythmic impulses and richness modulates between the textures produced by the others around them in ways they never knew existed and may not know now that they exist.

DSC_0022I see new people transforming their energies into texture.


DSC_0071Some people seem to lack confidence and this indeed is texture too.This of course textures the work in different ways that are perceptible to me but not necessarily to others. I look consciously for texture as the work of the day progresses into this ever changing tapestry of texturality.


But I like these textures of innocence that remind me of children and childhood. Something captures the imagined things and they are enveloped in a sphere of discovery, escaping for brief moments, encounters if you will, to become what they imagined once to be impossible. Whereas children often project themselves into unreality, adults find reality more fascinating and this comes with maturity that defies disappointment. Here, in textured reality is meaningful work and workmanship that therefore brings boundaries that define our work to a point and it’s an important point whereby we, they, discover the importance of defined boundaries and rather than defy them and reject them they now welcome them.

DSC_0073DSC_0030Precision is texture and so too inaccuracy. These two conditions reflect the texture of personality sometimes and sometimes they reflect momentary lapses of working three-dimensionally as the eye cannot see beyond the corner and consciousness is lost to this element.
Just as blue jeans are part of North American texture, and even the Americas as a whole, so too the impression of a craftsman on his wood and in his work. The violin played by the maestro changes to textures impressed by his skilled play into every ounce of the wood he plays through vibrating strings that resonate and the wood fibre reorients itself to perform with the skill.
Creativity workshops are now considered activity breaks and it’s through these that the texture I speak of somehow seems to seamlessly transform people and their lives into creative, textured people working with their own hands. Creativity itself becomes their own personal texture which they energise by a synergy few people can experience and in a world rapidly progressing to a non-crafting industry,separated from skilled handwork, emerges a texture of creativity compelled by an innate desire to become an artisan.


  1. Once again, thanks for the encouragement to keep going. Here carpentry is all very industrial and the idea of texture or of following the wood isn’t popular: we have motorised planes and bench saws to get rid of all thst naturalness for us. Anyone who wants to work with their hands is naive or silly.

    One question though, in a photo above someone is making dovetails with a chisel. I’m sure there is a reason the wood isn’t clamped down, but what is it?

  2. Speaking for myself, I enjoyed reading this, several times, as it allows me a glimpse into Paul’s thoughts and workings. If a guy can have this much enthusiasm for something that he has earned a living and provided for his family and taught for years…. I’ll slow down and allow the train of thought to percolate in my own mind, hoping for just a bit of the passion he brings.

    1. Brian,you’ve either got the passion or you haven’t – you can’t suck it out of someone else’s brain.

      1. Time to end the unnecessary I suppose. Not sure of the point you are trying to make really.

  3. So, Mr moderator – censorship on a woodworking blog…who’d have thought it? I apologise if my comments were offensive, but as well as woodworking, I love the english lanuage, and I get a bit upset when people strangle it. Stick to the woodwork, Paul – leave the metaphysics to John Donne.

    1. So no one has the right to ask you not to write, but you feel fine asking the owner of the blog to not write? Go somewhere else and troll, please.

      1. Crikey. I make a few innocent comments about dodgy English and now I’m mad, angry and apparently a mythical beast! It also turns out I need a Phd before I’m qualified to dare to comment.
        Seriously, it is not my intention to offend, and if I have, I apologise.
        Such sensitive souls….I’m going back to my cave now. I won’t be back. Bye!

        1. Someone points out the unreasonableness of your position, and now we’re the sensitive ones? LOL

          1. Michael, I realise this may come as a shock to you, but having a position different to yours does not make it unreasonable. Are you oversensitive? Well, if the cap fits…
            As for ‘LOL’ …do me a favour. You’re spending too much time at the keyboard, I think.

          2. Too much time at the keyboard? You’re the one criticizing the writing on a woodworking blog.

  4. You can never tell where the source of ignition may come from to reignite or start a passion. Some of Pauls comments reminded me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and the discernment of Quality. Other bits did come across as a stream of unconscious thought. Overall, the encouragement of a greater depth to the practice of any pursuit I find to be a refreshing plus given the unfortunate (sometime) domination of simple expediency and economics in the workings of a job. Dare I say that Paul is a romantic at heart?

    1. ‘A stream of unconscious thought’ eh? Difficult to think when one is unconscious: perhaps you meant a stream of consciousness. So he’s James Joyce now? Jeez… it’s only woodwork for chrissake.

  5. I didn’t understand this the first time I read this but upon a second read I understand this to be the development of an artisan. Even if 20 people make the same project with hand tools they will all be different. I am satisfied with being a craftsmen but we are all artisans in our own ways

  6. Perhaps I didn’t place my comment regarding unconscious thought into context. It was deliberate due to some of the content being to me a bit of a ramble and very open to interpretation. As to the comparison to James Joyce I must confess I am not familiar other than by name. ‘It’s only woodworking’ Therein lies each individuals take on how they approach woodworking. You can make it as pragmatic or artistic as you like, or do both. My dad used to say on some of the building jobs “We’re not making fine furniture” a true sentiment in terms of what we were actually working on (some very rough and ready workers cottages) but indicative of what he preferred doing and how as well. He often left the fiddly stuff to me because it drove him nuts but he was happy to bust his boiler to get solid large amounts of construction done.

  7. It’s not metaphysics. It’s a statement of fact. Of course people’s personalities are manifest in the things they make by hand. Confident cuts vs tentative timorous ones.

    I really can’t understand why you are getting so worked up about it. Chill out and relax. It’s just a blog. You think it’s nonsense – the best thing for you would be to just leave instead of attempting to ram your point of view home by berating everyone who disagrees with you.

    You do realise it makes you sound quite mad?

    1. Julian, why on earth should I’leave’ for having an opinion? I thought that was what blog comment was for! far as I cantell, you’re the only one who actually disagrees. If it makes me seem mad, well, so be it… it’s a fair cop guv – put the bracelets on – see you in the gulag, Jules.

    2. Not just mad, angry. At whatever he can find to criticize. Apparently, he’s a professor of philosophy or english literature or both. There is nothing wrong with Paul Sellers post. It’s a heartfelt expression of love for his work and for teaching. Sorry that those feelings are offensive to you.

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