Wednesday 8 November 2017

Seaguls Are Beautiful Too

The seagul coasts through space with wings open for a few moments then flaps its wings again to maintain altitude. I observe the smooth flight trajectory and the indifference written on the birds face. But who is watching? I think what I see is real but it's a two-dimensional image with the illusion of depth processed in the brain. Movement never stops like a photograph, never. Light is fast but still takes time to travel. The stars we see at night are proof. Someone standing below has a different view of the event. Why should I classify it as an "event"? When did it start and end? Thoughts say "event happened". Thoughts are not mine, we share them as a species like currency is traded and circulated. But there is more. There must be more - the beauty of the bear taking a stroll, the whale out of reach in the deep waters of the ocean, peace and joy when the brain is calm and alert.

Another seagul coasts across my zone of visual attention, the fleeting movement is not recorded as the mind relaxes into the depth of silence. Here movement and sound merge. The separations dissolve, nothing is watching, the seagul is not a seagul, the earth spins fast, the wind stirs and blends, the gas and solids share their symbiotic agreement, the trees sway unconditionally supported by the surrounding air, I inhale easy and exhale next. Gravity is sucking me down toward the exact center point of the earth, a point so exact that it cannot be marked, it cannot take space. Does it even exist?

~ • ~

The spine of the bear, the flight of the bird, the apple on the table;
Social interaction, chemicals of positivity and negativity;
Timeless being, freely moving, gracefully silent.

This is "Behind The Wood Forms". Thank you for reading. 
Wood forms can be viewed and purchased at:

Arch No.2 - in Yellow Cedar - 2017

Thursday 2 November 2017

Good And New Tools Over Mediocre Fish and A Side

Just as human beings evolved with their technology and tools over thousands of years the evolution of my craft also evolved with the tool collection. Without a vise how can you use a draw knife? What are the physical requirements for a shave horse?

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 I needed a workbench/surface. I saw the Japanese traditional surface which was close to the ground to be used kneeling. I had a 5"X5" cedar post off-cut about 3' long. I saw cut a groove to accept a stop which is piece of wood to fit in the groove which projects above the surface to keep the work piece from moving in one direction. With this simple device, I could get to work. I could saw, plane and carve against the stop. Without a drill or brace, I was left nailing pieces together or joining them with tight fitting joints. I should mention, I decided to work with hand tools rather than electric tools at the beginning because I wanted to learn those skills masterfully. I have since realized the joy of working with non-powered tools - quite a profound and unique feeling indeed.

This starting-from-scratch approach to tool acquisition appealed to me greatly because I saw it as a sort of complicated problem solving project. In other words, I valued the process and took it slowly intentionally in order not to cheat myself of the valuable learning process gained with each step of this "evolution".

 At a certain point I decided to start investing in good and new tools. I compared acquiring a tool to eating at a restaurant and taking chances on the fish or chicken! It was always an easy decision to spring for the long lasting, very useful tool which provides joy and the facilitation of high quality work. There are quite a lot of tools necessary to meet the minimum requirements to make fine objects. It seemed every time I had a new project there was another tool I needed. But I knew that it was the right thing to do and eventually this process slowed down and I am left today with the collection of necessary tools which I invested in along the way. It's a collection that suits me and my work and has become a natural extension of my hand! I would love to go into more detail, so stay tuned for future blogs on the subject of tools.
One example: I bought a block plane from Lie-Nielson,...
Image source:

...springing for the unfavorable exchange rate from US to Canadian and UPS brokerage fee (which was a surprise) only to find that it was faulty. I sent it back and waited weeks for the return taking every precaution necessary to avoid being charged import taxes and the broker fees. I got mistakenly taxed again and had to file for a refund. All the while, I knew that all of this was worth it. I was correct. This properly tuned tool allows for fine work to be done. It has served me very well and having it in my collection is of great value to me.

Thanks for reading.

The abstract sculptures can always be found at:

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