Lea leaves us for Slovakia tomorrow

There’s not much to this really, and yet there is.

P1040666_2 Tomorrow Lea (pronounced Leah) will leave us for the fourth time. She made several things including an unusual replication of the 19th century splay lagged table we made on woodworking masterclasses last year. I think all in all she has been with us for three months now so that’s quite a concentrated period of solid making time. When she returns she will stop in to see her parents in Prague and I said it will be nice that she can show her mother what she made. She said, “Yes, but she will say, ‘Why woodwork?’” Leah smiles at me and then quotes her mother further. “Isn’t woodwork for men?’ ” I’m sure there is significance in the question, but I have learned all too often that people assume one thing when it can be entirely another.

P1040439 The month has passed quickly for all of us and having Lea here has been wholly enjoyable and it’s because I know for me it’s been because I see something in Lea that may not be obvious to Lea’s mother. I’ve been mentoring Lea through three or four projects this visit. I watched her finish her table, and it’s got complexities in it’s constructs that defy more modern methods. As she worked I saw not only examples of her very fine workmanship; some of the best I’ve seen really, but the hidden beauty of pure resoluteness. What she has is essential to craftsmanship and I think the assumption is that woodworking requires more heavy handedness perhaps more typical of carpentry and joinery whereas Lea worked the whole time with very careful consideration for all that she did. she worked with gentleness and care with firmness and diligence, patience and kindliness. Her thoughtfulness and total attention meant mistakes were almost none. P1040453_2 These are characteristics she’d developed by her own personality of self-discipline; characteristics I see but all too rarely in a power-driven world that’s so distorted the face of real craftsmanship. What I liked too is that she would apply the same care and concern to timber-framing, joinery and heavier areas of woodworking. She’s that type of woodworker you see. Anyway, it’s been very fine having her with us.

I asked Sam to stay on for a year or so with us. He said he could and he would. He too shares the same characteristics as Lea does. I will show you what they’ve made soon. Currently he’s making his workbench. It’s a rite of passage for every woodworker. P1040864

Phil and I are of course together every day as we work alongside one another most of the time. I think I know I speak for him when I say our lives have been all the more enriched by these two young people.


  1. Paul what a great post. ‘Thankfullness’ it seems is in short supply in this world sometimes… Yet this post is full of it on all fronts, including me being thankful you wrote it. All the best to Lea on her travels.

  2. I’m sure this has been a time of personal growth for all, professional and personal.

    1. I think so. She was a blessing here. Smiles and serious about things that matter to her.

  3. It is so gratifying to see you passing on your knowledge, skills, and experience to a younger generation and gratifying that many are eager to learn them. Thank you Paul.

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