A Very Happy New Year Everyone!

Becoming a Lifestyle Artisan Is Up To You!

DSC_0040In a few hours a new year will unfold its minutes to become hours and days into an unknown future and we will each step into its chasms and onto its mountains to overcome the obstacles we call simply ‘Life‘.paul-sellers-teaching I don’t tend to look back into the past purposely as some type of nostalgic but sometimes catch myself drifting into Texas canyons filled with mesquites, live oaks and native pecan trees growing wildly beneath flailing branches. Remember here that I come from a metroplex of five million and my playground as a child was the city dump one block from my house.DSC_0025 As I sit at some base or other watching the ants traversing their section of the globe I can’t help but say Texas was some of the best years of my life. I could have stayed here in the UK and most likely would have owned one of its over-priced homes and become a slave to even owing two or three, but I am so glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t trade the twenty Texas’ years for anything.

The Stepping Stones in Life

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I don’t know if you know what it’s like to see a man finish his first rocking chair, but magic falls far short.

DSC_0043Drifting further back to 1965 I remember making tea for ten men many decades my senior and discovering that two teaspoons of tea in one man’s cupped palm was different in another’s and that ten men each said “two teaspoonfuls.”, but every one of them looked very different amounts to me. You see these cupped hands gave me differing amounts of tea for each individual pint mug and the same hands gave me different methods of working to do the same job. I emulated pushing and pulling saws, planes and chisels when no explanation could tell me how the things worked but actions did and the techniques were personalised, customised developed to be fit for purpose as I grew.

Don’t Despise the Days of Small Beginnings

Hands serving me then became my hands today and I look into a new year filled with hope that wherever possible all of the knowledge I have gained will pass to you as they passed to my own sons over the past two decades and also to my many apprentices through the past four decades.

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We Never Know Who’s Lives We Will Transform

DSC_0149Over two decades we have trained over 5,000 individuals around my bench here in the UK and throughout the USA. When I started teaching I never knew that would or even could happen. That was pretty expansive I think. Above that I have trained hundreds of children aged 5 – 16 years and many apprentices 16 and up. By the end of this year and the time you read this we’ll be closing in on five million YouTube visitors to our training videos and my blog currently stands at well over five million views too. It’s all making a huge difference and we’ve kept it all free from sponsorship and the invasion of advertising too. Coupled with these successes we have proven how well online training is through video training and I am glad to have been able to contribute to this at my time of life even if it’s only to counter the negative influences from the power-machine world.

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A New Day Dawning

DSC_0029So, it’s a new year and our quest to train new woodworkers is not to clone any individual but to set free new concepts from fresh new individuals who so want to become the new generation of lifestyle woodworkers. Cultivating craft work as a lifestyle occupation means standing your ground in the face of false expectations others feel the right to somehow demand of you because of some external control. I have DSC_0033faced this several times over the years and have continually faced breaking away. Education is only the means by which a society enables you to communicate within a common culture. It has no rights of demand or compulsion beyond that. What you contribute to any society you live in is entirely freely given and entirely up to you. The more we invest into our society and beyond even that the more we recover the warmth and care and love it takes to make change a reality for everyone. No matter your age, gender, ethnicity or circumstance, it still lies within your scope to define who you will become this coming year. First you must determine exactly what the scope is and the parameters that you want to set to work within. Then you must develop a plan of sequential steps to arrive at your goal considering time and goals.DSC_0043 4

My conclusion For 2014?

Make lifestyle happen in 2015. Share your life as much as you can by involving others with your thoughts and feelings, your hopes and aspirations. Start right away with some paper and a pen. Who is it that you want to be and how are you going to become a lifestyle artisan that makes change happen?

20 thoughts on “A Very Happy New Year Everyone!”

  1. Happy New Year Paul, Joseph and everyone at the woodworking master classes! Thank you for all the wonderful videos – they have opened up a whole new world for me for which I am eternally grateful! I look forward to learning more with you in 2015. Bonne année !

  2. Andrew Wilkerson

    Happy new year to Paul and all the blog followers. Looking forward to all the posts and interesting content the year will bring. I’m already nearly 13 hrs into the new year and since waking up a little hung over all I’ve done so far is read Paul’s blog and drink coffee. Time for another cup as I head over to the masterclasses site to watch the eagerly awaited second toolbox video.
    A good start to the year so far. Thanks Paul for keeping them coming.

  3. Thanks a lot.
    It’s nice to read the thoughts you share with us. I can only guess what or Who makes you be such an inspiring man.
    All the best in this New Year.

  4. Tim from Australia

    Thank you Paul and all the very best to you.
    I only discovered your work a few months ago but can say in that time you have tapped something inside of me that has been there since i first picked up a plane in the 1960’s. i have had the same passion now for the past 50 years and still love it.
    Thank you.
    Tim (in Australia)

  5. Thank you, Paul. I wish a happy new year to you and your family. Thank you for making lifestyle woodworking seem accessible. Your clear instructions make me feel like I can do woodworking that otherwise looked complex and mysterious. I have a new set of Narex chisels and a set of diamond plates being shipped to me. My old Stanley No. 4 (ebay find) is just rearing to go! I hope 2015 will be a year of learning and perfecting new woodworking skills for me.

  6. Happy New Year Paul and family, crew and to everyone here. Looking forward to a great 2015 and seeing what is in store for us as this is my favorite pastime and have learned a lot.

    Thanks again Paul and Crew for everything you do.

    Steve

  7. David Devereux

    Happy new year Paul and family. One of the ideas that I am inspired to make in 2015 is a 2-legged Conoid chair, have been given George Nakashima’s book ‘The Soul of a Tree’. It looks beautiful and eminently doable provided the joints can be made tight enough. The book gives no details on the critical joint between the back of the seat and the legs, but studying some of the photos closely appears to show a plug at the back of each leg. Do you have any idea whether this is a wooden dowel or a cover to a screw, which would certainly make the joint strong but doesn’t realy go with his stated philosophy.

  8. Happy new year to you Paul and to Joseph, Phil, John, Resi and all your staff and families.
    Giorgio

  9. A very Happy New Year to you, Paul. I can safely say that the 9 days I spent at the bench with you last October were the highlight of 2014 for me. Best wishes to you, your family and friends and all others who cross your path.

    Steve

  10. Paul, your words are encouraging, liberating, and truthful. Thank you for the beauty and fulfillment of hand tool woodworking and the paradigm that has unlocked a simpler life and freedom . John.

  11. Thomas Tieffenbacher/aka DocSavage45

    It’s January, the first day of 2015. My New Years resolution is make mistakes, get it built, and stop thinking about it! Thanks Paul. Looking ahead to new things I’m ready to learn from you! Just found out about Box Day! Hope it was a good one. I’ve been rehabbing and learning about the blades in my planes I purchased on Ebay.

    Reflection is something your do well. As well as quietly get your point across! LOL!

    Thanks and a Better New Year!

  12. Paul,
    Your words are always inspiring and the woodworking techniques that you share so freely are always appreciated. I look forward to following this year and learning new techniques and building new projects.

  13. mmelendrez1955

    Happy New Years to the entire crew. Paul you are such an inspiration and I can not thank you enough. I can only hope to be half the craftsman that you are. When I think about all that I have accomplished this last year through working wood. I get really excited to think of what is to come and where it will take us. I love the smile on the Gentlemen sitting in his new rocker. It is as if you can feel the pride flowing right out of the grain in the wood that he used to build it.

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