Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bow Back Windsor Chair

For my 30th birthday, B sent me on a trip to make a chair with the man I call my wood-working mentor, although wood-working is really just a metaphor for life. In five days, I basically finished making this chair. Many happy hours--and a few frustrated ones too--were logged in that dank and cold basement, with the strains of Mozart and Bach as a suitable soundtrack. B definitely qualifies for wife of the year--nearly seven days alone with two small children!

Here are some thoughts about why I love wood-working. For one, wood-working requires undivided attention. There is no room for anxiety of any kind. To employ an over-used but true cliche, you are living in the moment, not slavishly looking at a clock every 10 minutes. B can tell about how I go out to my shop to do some wood turning only completely to lose track of time, wandering in at 10:30 or 11:00 with shavings hanging from my beard. I also love wood-working strangely because it involves compromise: one has an ideal of the project in mind, but there are always imperfections, known most acutely by the maker. Accepting these imperfections is part of the process of completing a chair. Without my mentor present, many steps in the project would not have been completed through worrying about imperfections. This is wonderful medicine for my exacting--mostly unrealistic--standards. To be able to say 'it is good enough' is thrilling, and one of those life lessons I am still trying to learn.

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