…a new year

Yesterday was the first day of the year but of course we all took the day off to celebrate its new beginning. I find nothing daunting about the new year though it hinges on the past ones. I think that that is important for all of us. In some ways its like we cut the tails in one year and then the pins came in the new one. That’s the way I also see my older life span hinged to the emerging younger that will take whatever part of my vision they want into their future.

It was hard for me to take time out from working but my bronchitis gave me something of an enforced rest. Today I feel stronger in many ways and I have been looking forward to progressing things with the excitedness of a child. I cycled into town this morning to meet my mates for coffee. The damp air mushroomed over the river and the canal as I passed along the muddy embankment and my wheels slipped and slid from one side to the other as I went from grass to deep mud. Having had the bronchitis made me appreciate good health and sometimes I think we need the downturns to make us appreciate what we have. I saw that with the cot I made last month at the close of the year. Some of the wood was as wiry as could be. The potential for taring was constant and it mattered. Then I came to some oak that was as straight-grained and evenly textured as could be and it was pure joy to take the strokes with the plough plane and plough that groove out. In developing the work I felt stimulated the whole time you see. The awkwardness wood can have is all part of the challenge and the battle to overcome parallels our engagement with the real problems life often throws at us. Mostly it is to do with contrast and texture you see. Without contrast life would be, well, dull.

So I am now in 12019 as are you. A new page starts each day and we must fill the page with our best endeavours. There will be easy work and difficult work but it is on the anvil of adversity that character is formed and it’s this character that will determine how we handle the days ahead. In a few minutes we will hold our first meeting of the year when I arrive at the workshop. I am looking forward to catching up with everyone and most importantly their fresh ideas and points of view. Our work enables us to interact in creativity. I never knew that videography, editing, making wood work and expressing it through a media other than actually at the bench could be so inter-responsive. It’s as if one bounces of the other; two logs in a fire where one gives off flame to the other in like exchange and suddenly there is a warming, roaring fire igniting interchangeably back and forth, back and forth.

So, in a minute I will be back on my bike interchanging with the countryside around me as I cycle on to work. It’s a dull start to the day weather wise but not too dull to dampen my spirits. There is a future about to unfold and we all need each other for different reasons but mostly to inspire. I truly hope we can work wood together for another year. It’s brand new. I opened my journal as a new book on a first page yesterday in readiness for the things I will sketch, write and use to record my ideas. Join me. Go and buy that journal and start mapping out your ideas and plans. Record them there and you will see how much you have accomplished when you look back. I just read my journal covering  2008. It was fascinating to have a written record of our last year living and working in the United States. I look forward to the eve of 2019 when I will open my 2009 journal covering all that we did in that year a decade ago.

Always remember that the future rapidly becomes the past and that if you don’t make a journal you will more easily forget much of what you accomplished and it is all too easy to say I don’t have time. Even brief scribblings are wonderful memory aids—perhaps even better than pictures in some cases.



  1. Randy Ewart on 2 January 2019 at 11:39 am

    I love it, Paul. Good health and Happy New Year …!

  2. Ted Nicholls on 2 January 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Many thanks for the past, look forward to the future with you, all the best to you and yours Ted.

  3. Dave Gallahee on 2 January 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Best wishes in the new year. Looking forward to your excellent teaching methods and learning new skills.
    From one Capricorn to another, Happy BD come the 4th!!

  4. Elizabeth VC on 3 January 2019 at 7:44 am

    Dear Paul, happy new year! It is no easy thing to combine the verbal skills of writing, journalling, and blogging, with the physical skills demanded by artisan crafting. I hope this year brings you joy in both, the way you have brought joy and inspiration to me over the years. Also best wishes for a full recovery from the bronchitis.

  5. Craig perry on 6 January 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Look forward to 2019 watching your teachings

  6. Lance on 7 January 2019 at 10:57 am

    Just turned 78 and in a bit of a downer and was skipping through utube when I happened on one of your videos about joints! Bang! For some reason life started looking up. “ I can do this, even if it’s a wine rack, or something! Spent too much of my life dreaming and not doing, no more. Now to find some tools and some wood I can be respectful to and be happy doing it. Respect to you Sir.

    • Jim Thornton on 7 January 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Good for you Lance. I went through the same thing when I turned 70 about 2 1/2 years ago. Suddenly the big type of projects I’ve done all my life seemed overwhelming. I’ve had a woodworking machine shop all my life, but have just recently discovered the joys of hand woodworking, It used to be about the project, but now it’s more about the process. Something I’ve known all my life when riding my motorcycle (now scooter)…….it’s the journey and not the destination.

  7. Noel Rodrigue on 8 January 2019 at 1:23 am

    I hear that soon after the New Year rolls around there is a birthday in the air. Hope you had a good day, Paul and that Mother Nature cooperated by giving you a good show.

  8. William Webb on 8 January 2019 at 4:34 am

    God Bless you Paul Sellers.
    Your words and thoughts inspire more than just about the mediation of wood,
    William (An Architect from the States)

  9. Marie Bouchard on 9 January 2019 at 4:04 am

    Happy New Year, dear Paul! What a good idea to begin a journal, to help remembering what we did! Take care of you!

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