Ask different crafters and artists what’s most important. The answers will be all over the map: innovation, creativity, mastery of the media, balance, attention to the details, or on the opposite end, not missing the big picture. So you could spend time playing detective to find out who was right. My old mentor in Baltimore, Warburton, would have shrugged his shoulders.
Of course, you should be a master of the media. Innovation and creativity? Well, that kind of goes without saying. Balance, attention to detail, and the big picture? Let’s not get caught up in the details; we do an excellent design job before we start, and that takes care of itself.

Warburton took pains to inform me that the tortoise, not the hare, won the race. A rushed job was just that rushed. The client might be oblivious to the shortcomings, but every time you passed it by, you’d be ticking off on your fingers the shortcuts you took that reduced the quality.

My current carving is a case in point. It’s a portrait of a large schooner sailing on the starboard tack; she’s just a bit heeled over to port. The sails are all carved, and the surrounding groundwork ( the flat background behind the ship) only needs final sanding. The hull now needs shaping. A critical part of this part is the portion of the ship’s interior revealed since it is heeled over to port.

So I am moving at a snail’s pace here, determining how I’ll do this. I almost hear my old mentor, Warburton, whispering, “didn’t think about how you’d handle that part, did you? Stop, think about it, have some coffee, and then return to work.”

I have stopped. I am thinking about it, and I’m heading to the coffee pot now. Warbuton always gave great advice, but my coffee is much better than he boiled up for company.

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