Wednesday, December 25, 2013

christmas .. 2013

 as joan miro once famously said in response to the question "what do you do when you are not working?" answered "i think about my work."  i had a christmas day like that ... sunny, cold, clear, beautiful, no obligations.  just kit and i and sam and jen for a simple everyday dinner around 5:00.  will was off to Connecticut for the week with his girlfriend, the local aunt and uncle and cousins were in pennsylvania, and the neighbors were busy.  i slept late. i read.  i contemplated.  i walked in the woods.  i thought about my work.  i worked for an hour.  i napped.  i walked again.  we cooked.  we ate.  we napped again.  it's now 9:00.  the nova about cathedrals is on .. i'm writing.  it's quiet and peaceful.  i am appreciating my amazing good fortune to be doing what i do and making a living for the past 34 years at it.
i started by the pond ... click the photos to enlarge them.

worked my way to the shop in the first photo above .. sunny, amazingly quiet, beautiful ..
i sanded and varnished the bottom of the hill farm table.  i left.
back at the house, kit was reading in the sun.  i joined her.  i read a book for a while called 'creation out of clay' by brother thomas bezanzon.  in it, he discusses pottery and art.  the process of art.  the difference between that process and 'work', which he says, it's not.  but there is no other better word to describe what we do ... so for now, 'work' will have to do.  i recently received an email from a fellow woodworker i knew back in the 80's, michael coffey.  i found a letter he wrote to me in 1983, thanking me for a steam bending course i taught at his woodworking school, then in operation in poultney, vt.  after a little googling, i was able to get an email to him, and his response was intriguing.  in part, it read:

"I am happy to see that you are still alive and kicking, as I am.  I am still making and selling the same kind of furniture I specialized in in Vermont - custom, contemporary, carved work. I am 85 now and slowing down but not close to quitting. I have several younger woodworkers who do a lot of my building and carving while I do the marketing, designing and management. More when we have a chance to meet."

so, HE'S 85!!, and still 'working' ... 19 years to go, and with luck, i'll be there.

i then later read a little about plant 'intelligence', an article in this week's new yorker by michael pollan, and then, chickadee intelligence in this season's Stratton Magazine, and how my friends 'bucko'' and geoffrey norman got to town 35 years ago. that was interesting. and now cathedrals ... 
back to work and happy to be at it tomorrow.  on to the cathedrals ..

merry christmas from vermont !

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