…You know the rest.
We had a plane take (blast) off yesterday as we closed the week’s work for a UK Holiday Weekend. Penrhyn Castle was brimming with holiday people coming to the beautiful North Wales mountains and seaside and many stayed here at the Castle all day long. We inside the Castle and in between bouts of filming and spreading the good news about our work to visitors, peeled off shavings with the different trial planes we prepped for our research and subsequent filming. The weather was cool but bright with clear blue skies. Just what people need for a few days away.
This week we’ve replaced or repaired chisel handles, on every type of chisel there is for my next book, we’ve restored many bench planes, recut, reshaped and sharpened saw teeth on old saws and tested out new saws from the Sheffield saw makers Thomas Flinn. Each day we have filmed and written updates on our findings and also started preparing for our next series for woodworkingmasterclasses.
Yesterday, as people prepare for Easter egg hunts and parents try to keep up with their youngsters, I found myself snatching time to slip intentionally into those deep pockets of self arresting. In busy work lives this is difficult because someone is buying your time second by second. Snatching reflection becomes very important and I ask myself what it is that really matters to me and possibly others. I mean, here in a world we woodworkers retreat to from the daily onslaughts of our modern life, isn’t it important to make re-creative time worth something no one can buy. Personally I find it ever more consequential to find parallels in my work that remain in the realms of the real yet provide a way to escape the non-skill world of artificiality that seems to me ever increasing. Still, making alone seems always to give me that respite and so I am thankful I can pursue my work in a way I find gives me critical meaning and wellbeing and not only for me but many, many others.
I confess that in any given day, as I work at my bench, I find myself immersed in gradients of unconsciousness as my work gains significance and as I cut and define shapelessness into shape. In this I lose awareness to my periphery and my subconscious loses all reference to my surroundings. I want in essence to compose what I make and all else to become distant and blurry, even the people I am with or who walk into the visitor part of my workshop fade out of focus and my work seems then fully isolated as under a microscopic as I separate the cells of xylem and reform my psyche to make sense in an otherwise insane world. These are rare and treasured spheres, moments immeasurably extended in pockets of creativity when and where time stops for inestimable moments, minutes and hours and ticking clocks cannot measure. Irretrievable mustering of synchrony where absorption defies finance and economy, concern and health, those things around which the world seems destined to destroy. Parents find it in lifting toddling children from grass to sun and a smile in two eyes trusting the newfound height is theirs for a moment. In a child resting in cuddled envelopment in the peace of trust before a world soon to snatch it from them as they grow to transitioning teenage years and a world of adulthood. These spheres are periods when it seems that the whole of creation is waiting to reveal something to us that separates us from all that we measure and calculate and store and save to be away from it in a dimension we never knew existed outside of being a small and innocent child.