The last few weeks have been incredibly full and full of incredible change. A distant memory is my trip to Charlotte to learn more about the design software that we use at Across the Creek Woodworks. It warped my brain into odd shapes, I guess in order to fit the information somewhere in there. The truth is that my analogue nature is having a hard time keeping up with the digital world it now inhabits. I have flashbacks to the days of cycling when I found myself at the back of the paceline, no longer able to pull through, let alone hang on. Eventually, the colorful winding dot at the horizon would disappear into a world I stopped wanting to be a part of. I find myself there more and more in these virtual days, happy to let my hands be my interface between the world and my spirit.
Two weeks ago, I started my temporary position as a visiting artist at Warren Wilson College. What an amazing place to find myself. My first week was spent getting to know the students, their routines and work habits as they wrap up the steam bent Windsor chairs from last semester. Led by Seth Weizenecker, a talented chair maker in Asheville, their chairs are crafted to near perfection. Following Seth is a daunting undertaking, but the students seem hungry for more, and I am excited to work with them. Walking some of them through their first hand cut dovetails however, has shown me that doing and teaching are only distant cousins, and maybe not even related at all. I have always had great respect for my former teacher and mentor, Wayne Raab, from HCC. That respect has grown even deeper. I’m realizing that teaching really is a skill that has to be developed and honed as carefully as a fine chisel. I hope the students can allow me some space for my own learning curve as I grant them theirs. I certainly couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting for such an adventure. The campus is wrapped and flanked by miles of hiking trails. Turkey and I explore these trails to clear the mind and push the reset button during breaks.
And in my own shop… the last several months have been extremely busy and productive. The end of the summer found me in my shop working frantically to prepare for an installation of cabinets and room dividers for Sunny Point Café, my favorite eating establishment in Asheville… Yum… Award winning for their food and ambiance, it was a great pleasure to work with them on this project.
An unfortunate accident involving a couple of fingers and my jointer at the end of this project created the need to slow down a bit and approach the shop in a more mindful way. The fingers have healed visually, and have surprised all who have seen them through out the healing process. I am told the nerve endings may take a couple of years to heal. For now, the discomfort serves as a daily reminder of my good fortune.
Presently, I am working on a commission of two pieces for a lovely couple in Winston Salem. The sideboard is nearing completion and the curly maple veneers for the tall chest have been ordered. Finding warm hours in the shop seems to be my biggest obstacle in the winter months. However, finding gracious clients who allow for that time seems to be an easier task.
There was a time in my life when work and play were two completely different endeavors. One robbing from my soul, the other feeding it. As the two parts of me come back into alignment, work and play have also become one. The days slip past each other with seamless ease, one no more important than the other. Work and play are relative to me, siblings, twins even. I inhabit both spaces with great pleasure.