Yesterday had to be the single most overwhelming birthday I think I ever had and I don’t want to go too far beyond it without saying a massive all-caps-in-bold THANK YOU! But it’s not just for your well-wishing I am grateful though I am very thankful you took the time and trouble to write me, it was the deluge of unbelievable support for the work we do too. Talk about inspiring and inspired. It made me think how could I ever retire. I used the word ‘we’ because it’s really not about me but YOU, all-caps-in-bold again, and my friends who work with me and of course the sacrifice my family has made over two decades to allow my work to progress and then reach so many people.
I have never planned to retire, not even when major disappointments dogged me. I knew in 1989 there was a deep need for real training and teaching for a new and emerging generation that would one day see through the falsehoods as they grew to become true crafting men and women woodworkers and indeed craftspeople and artists. I mean true amateurs not just professionals.
You are the dream I dreamed would replace me as I passed on the guts of my craft and got rid of the foo foo, smart alecky, quick wits that so often distort what real artisanry is to life itself. This month 350,000 of you will read the blog, challenge me and make valid contributions that help others grow. The same now happens on YouTube and FaceBook too. By the end of the month one million known recipients will have interacted over the age-old craft of woodworking. What I present on my blog, YouTube and FaceBook doesn’t come from someone else’s book, DVDs, videos, Forums, blogs but from my 65 year old head and the real value of this is in the lived lives you all are now leading. I last read a woodworking magazine a year ago now as I saw the reason they were collapsing one by one. The future of woodworking is in the planted seed and I for one will be sorry to see them go, but surely there is much to be done to revive real woodworking with the traditions of hand work more central to the restoration and recovery process.
I think the answer lies within you my friends. It’s not really a hobby. It’s much deeper than that. You are now carrying the future of woodworking. It is no longer reliant on professional editors, professional woodworkers, professional sales outlets, colleges and universities to hold the future but you, the amateurs, that have proved yourselves so very solid. All of the above providers do not rely on professional woodworkers for their industries and economics, they rely on you. That’s a powerful thing. You are our investment and I trust you to be the future generation of craftsmen and craftswomen around the world. So, that said, I want to say a very big THANK YOU! once more before I close this evening’s post.