It’s funny how images can grab your attention. A short time back, I was struck with this while I was turning the knob for my wife’s dough bowl. It was the kind of thing that just makes you stop and grab the camera.
Really, it’s the kind of scene I had seen scores of times before while turning, but it had never struck me like this. More than just a nicely polished piece of blackwood waiting to be parted off, it seemed the perfect metaphor for what we do as woodworkers.
It may seem a bit hokey, but think a out it: What is it that we do? We start with a rough, sometimes shapeless, piece of wood. Then, through steps and stages, we gradually transform it into something either beautiful, useful, or both. By and large, this is a subtractive process – we gradually take away the parts that don’t belong until we get the shapes we desire, and then put them together in an orderly and meaningful manner. Unlike clay, the removal of too much often demands that the entire part be redone, making this type of creation a one-way street. The only real addition occurs at the end, when some sort of finish is applied to enhance the appearance.
The end product is the only thing that most folks ever see, so a view like this is something of a surprise. Even those of us that do this sort of thing routinely don’t often see it quite like this.
I just thought you might like it.