Well here goes… I had started out with the intention of simply wanting to learn how to paste a picture into my blog.
Well actually the whole thing started when I finally managed (with the help of my step-son, Nic) to get a wireless network installed that would let my Macintosh talk to the web through my wife’s PC cable modem connection. That led to The WoodWhispser Podcast http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/. And that led me here to LJ, Flickr, box.net and a host of internet wonders that I had never dreamt of. I must say thank you to all who have commented on my work and to everyone who has shared the sweat, blood and toil that they have poured into their craft. The photos of work and ideas of people who are on fire with creativity are a gem to me. I hope that as I am inspired by your work, I have the opportunity to meet some of you and get to know a bit about you.
As I have bounced around in this process, I have visited cherished sites and reviewed photos of work by some of the folks I consider ”Box Gods”, Phillip Weber (www.weberboxes.com), William McDowell (www.teknodeco.com) and Doug Stowe (www.dougstowe.com). I started thinking (uh oh) about the incredible opportunity the internet presents the woodworking community. There was a detail of box construction at the Teknodeco web site that flabbergasted me, I had see it before but finally “got it”.
This led me to consider the world in medieval times when local guilds were formed. Secrets and techniques were shared by those craftsmen, but communication was stilted, slow and limited to the spoken/written word, or hand-drawn illustration. Schools developed so that a technique or fashion was identified by either the master craftperson (ie Sheraton, Hepplewhite, Boulle technique) or locality (Tunbridge Ware) And although commerce allowed items to spread across the world (engendering movements like Chinoiserie-when the French adapted style details from Chinese arts and crafts), nothing on the order of sharing has ever occurred relative to what is occurring right here literally under own noses (or at least perpendicular to your nose as you look at your monitor).
From the standpoint of inspiration alone the thought is staggering, but the fact that techniques can be discussed, and details elucidated between members of this community really has a overiding significance. Here is the biggest guild imaginable. Mentoring is going on, skill levels advanced, secrets are shared, all at the the speed of electrons (yet bogged down here particularly by my typing skills, but you get the drift).
That’s all for tonight but I hope to pick up the thread with some thoughts about the dark side of this watershed when I contemplate the consequences of distraction…
-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.