Branching Out

The two forms in the photo are from the branch of a cherry tree that an acquaintance had taken down. The colorful bowl a few blogs back is also from that same tree. I saw a similar looking candle holder over the weekend and was inspired to try to copy it.

I’ve heard that a lot of art students learn by copying the masters. That rings true for me, whether it’s in software engineering or statistics or woodworking. Trying to replicate what somebody else has done, following in their footsteps, can be enlightening. It also off-loads the cognitive burden of having to create the form/design from scratch while also trying to learn how to execute everything. In this case I’d never tried to drill into end-grain like this, and had to improvise a system for chucking the form while drilling. Even that simple act had lots of decision points – when to drill? Turns out drilling *after* sanding is best – once it’s drilled it can be hard to center again on the lathe.

I’m still – very slowly and deliberately – working on the dining chairs. Not so much deliberately – I guess it’s more accurate to say I’m really not in any hurry. That’s why I have more confidence these will turn out well. It’s almost like the Zen “non-attachment” thing – I’ll just do it as the mood strikes, be totally in the moment, and not looking to be done. Over the weekend I cut all the major pieces – now I have to drill out the mortises in the front legs and cut tenons into all the rails. I’m going to try using the bandsaw for tenon cutting – safer and faster than the table saw jig I use, but potentially not as accurate. I’ll try some practice cuts and see…

Lots more going on – “meaning of life” questions and all. I’ll save those for later (if at all; still a little shy about sharing the deep inner stuff). 😉


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