It was a good day again. Peaceful. I think everyone crossed over a line into realms of satisfaction from what they accomplished. At least that’s what I felt from the smiles and comments. There are many more things they must learn about wood and tools and what can and cannot be done, but that’s going to mean they must experience differences I can’t give them because they happen randomly according to different circumstances. A dulled edge, the position of the plane, the twist in the grain that dives away at the last two centimetres. But this is where the rubber hits the road in the everyday of life and there is no such thing as perfection with every saw stroke or plane shaving. Just the best we can get and that best has variables we cannot always totally control. recognizing our limits becomes critical in hand work. It’s unpredictable and sometimes a risk. Machines always replicate an exactness that’s interesting-poor. Until it goes wrong that is. But hand tools can do that too. A slipped chisel or a torn surface under the sole always disappoints, buts it’s this colour that textures our life and work. I would rather that be mine than the other.
It’s good to reflect on the day behind and think through what took place so things can be changed to better what lies ahead for future work.
I made a spoon from a scrap of elm, fashioned yet another pine Shaker candle box as ongoing demonstration throughout the days. The benches are alive with creative movement, successes and some disappointments. The corners to each box reflect their progress and remind us all that we are not perfect. expectations reflect disappointments so I take care to make certain their expectations are not overly high. The box is the training piece they are learning on and the finished box is actually the byproduct to the joints they are making and that should be remembered. All too often we want the work-in-training to reflect a perfectionism we don’t really have. We haven’t yet paid the price and the badge is not yet earned. Today we will complete their boxes and see them stacked aside ready for project two. One thing in this and other classes that is flawless though is the enthusiasm. Can that and you have something worth having.