I found the wood sitting in the shorts at my favorite hardwood dealer. It was very dark, heavy, and dense. It was mahogany but so dark and heavy that I felt it was a wayward piece of Dominican, not Honduran. It was just what I wanted.
We all want to be instant experts. One of my sensei describes this in terms of the training montages that are standard fare in martial arts movies; the neophyte progresses from clumsy beginner to skilled pro in thirty seconds of cinematic snapshots.
I admit that the sort of non complex carving that happens when I carve a small bowl is pretty alluring. No antsy detail. No pattern that needs to be followed. Just follow the will of the wood.
We can easily get lost in the weeds talking about tradition in crafts.
This chest was not in stock long enough for me to do a proper set of photos. It sold at it's first appearance at the Maine Boatbuilder's Show to a pair of Boston Harbor pilots who were going to give it as a retirement gift to a colleague.
As consumers, there is much that you don't know about your favorite woods.
It sails on my wall with a cherry ocean and sky heading east from Japan or China towards Los Angelos. I think my father is pleased that his ship is restored to an essential place in our lives, through the unexpected kindness of a fellow seaman.
I've been interested in steam/sail transition vessels for years. Ships with steam Auxillary and later sail auxiliary revolutionized travel at sea. Oceanic travel was no longer at the mercy of the winds.
While teaching, I always like to decorate the workshop with carving examples for students to use as a reference. Week-long excursions to teach away from home mean emptying the house of many of my carvings. But samples in three dimensions often are better than pictures or demonstration, and the extra work was worth it.
The problem with imagination is that it's boundless. On the wall is a poster telling you that you can do it if you can imagine it. Don't take it too literally.
Not to be flippant, trample on the rights of others, or be rude, but the comfort of my tender body is a priority.
While clearing out old files I found this 1968 Ron Cobb cartoon
The last photo on the card was of this installation at the Peabody Essex Museum this past Sunday.
Your spirit is starving if your only nutrition has been food and drink.
When I restarted my business in the 1990s, I was eager to work and eager to do work that would build my portfolio. I was doing mostly boat portraits, transom banners, quarter boards, and that beautiful booth fee payer spoons, spatulas and cutting boards.
It's part of the adventure of woodcarving that you keep on learning; mastery is in growth not static achievement.
I was not a real believer in the internet to start with. Some of my early adopter friends thought that three-paragraph encyclopedia articles were terrific; I thought they were pathetic.
Contrary to uninformed opinion among Brothers of the Road, it is not all blue skies and easy riding out there. There are occupational hazards to being on the road that are not obvious.
Max does shame real well.
I entered my shop this morning to smell linseed oil, varnish, and wood shavings.