LumberJocks

Last day to Vote!

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 02-07-2007 05:10 PM 946 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

During the last lumberjocks competition in the summer, once I saw Karson’s cradle and read the description, I had an overwhelming feeling that his project would win the competition.

This time in the voting, I am not sure who will win the most votes from their peers. I can’t hardly wait to see who it will be this time.

I appreciate the folks that took the time, effort, and courage to put their projects out there for voting. Being voted on is a very scary thing for many people.

Over the weekend, at the KC Woodworking Show, there was a booth for a Carving Guild in Kansas City who were trying to drum up new members and promote their carving competition and show in March.

I saw their booth early in the day, but I didn’t even want to pause at their booth, as I could see from safely across the aisle that my work didn’t even come close to their work on display. I borrowed back my dad’s cane (http://lumberjocks.com/projects/268) to show Tracy Anderson at the Legacy Woodworking booth, and so unless I took it back to the car, the real carvers would see my inabilities clearly. So, I thought.

I avoided the confrontation with my ego for most of the day by “just missing” their booth. Then, late in the day, with my guard down while looking at magnetic feather boards, my wife was spotted by the carvers, and the started “hooting” her over heir booth, and so she naively followed their calls. She has that affect on men, and me, still today after almost 15 years of marriage.

I hope that the “hooting” was because she was carrying my dad’s cane, but she is pretty cute in blue jeans, so it could have been her that they really wanted to see better. You know I am joking (?).

Anyway, they looked at the cane and talked with her for a long while, while I tried to act like I didn’t notice that she was in the booth I had been avoiding all day.

Finally, there was no more avoiding it, so I lumbered over to see what they wanted. They tried and tried to talk me into entering my carving work in their upcoming March competition in Lee Summit, MO.

Now, I can look at what little work they had in their booth and tell that my work doesn’t hold it’s own, so I can’t see a good reason to drive to Lees Summit and pay an entry fee to find out for sure. I spent about 18 hours total building and scrimshawing the cane I had in my hand, while the painting on the carvings in the booth took more time alone, not to mention the carving.

So, I continued to graciously and repeatively deny their requests to enter their show, or join their guild. Joining the guild would be cool, but driving 2.5 hours for a monthly meeting is just too far, although I would surely love to sit once a month and learn from these guys. These carvers were friendly, supportive, encouraging, and fun to visit with. The type of folks we all want to hang out with. So, then why was I so scared to talk with them all day? It was my ego.

Anyway, back to the lumberjock voting, I realize from my own tender ego and phobias that putting a project in the ring to be voted on will make one, or two people very happy and feel “confirmed”. However, for the rest of us that don’t win, it will be humbling, and the experience can carry with it the feeling that “I won’t do that again…”

I do recommend that if you are feeling that way, to just push past it, I have to, we all have to. I think you will find it will be worth the effort over the years to show your work.

When you are making something that you know will be on display, it will push you higher, longer, faster, better, and more creative, than you would otherwise have done. Competition has that affect on all of us, no matter what the sport, or art.

Thanks to all who entered the competition,
Mark

P.S. I got my wife safely back home!

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com



17 comments so far

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 3696 days


#1 posted 02-07-2007 05:21 PM

Hey, they wouldn’t be so stupid to try to keep your lovely wife, you had a big stick to beat them with.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2008 posts in 3865 days


#2 posted 02-07-2007 05:36 PM

you’re right Obi, sort of wished I had one of those sword canes at the time. Just kidding (?).

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

766 posts in 3633 days


#3 posted 02-07-2007 06:03 PM

Mark,

It is interesting to hear you talking about egos and thinking your work doesn’t even come close to the quality of the work you saw at the woodcarver guild booth.

I guess it is all a matter of perception. See, I look at YOUR carving and feel your quality of work is something I’d have to work at a long time to match.

But I think one of the best ways to learn is through exposure to those more talented than myself – that’s why I feel I’m so lucky to have a mentor willing to teach me. Though two and a half hours does seem like a bit of a drive for a guild meeting… not sure that is one I’d be up for, either.

What I really want is an entire day where someone sits down and shows me how to sharpen every tool in my shop. I know there are plenty of books out there on sharpening, and some of them might be excellent books on the subject, but for the way I learn best, nothing beats having someone show me and then watch me repeat it and show me where I’m erring. I think I’d be less aprehensive about such things like carving and using hand planes if I knew I had the tools at their sharpest.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Martin Sojka's profile

Martin Sojka

1893 posts in 3932 days


#4 posted 02-07-2007 06:06 PM

Hm. I was about to write the “Last day to vote” announcement and now I see I don’t need to care about this anymore LOL. thanks, Mark!

Don’t forget that the voting ends at 3 PM Central Daylight Time (CDT). You can see the actual CDT time here. So you have last 5 hours to cast the votes…

Nice story about your lovely wife, carving guild and the cane. Hope you invited the carvers to join LumberJocks ;))

I can relate to your story – I had similar feelings while thinking about these LumberJocks contests with no jury (using the power of internet to have democratic public voting). I knew the idea was good but I was also worried how the LumberJocks community would react to this since it was something new. Then I decided to just do it – and IMO that works perfectly in these situations. It turned out that the Summer Contest model was not perfect but I’d not know that without doing it. I gathered excellent feedback and was able to come up with the revamped Winter Awards that are going great so far. So anytime you are fighting with yourself about doing something, just do it – you will at least have another valuable experience.

I’m also eager to see the final results. All I can disclose to you now is that we have really nice amount of votes so far.. I think you will be positively surprised.

And the points on top places are really close so each vote counts! I encourage everybody to cast the votes because they can have big impact on the final rankings. Plus you can win the stylish shirt ;)

The last dilemma I have now is whether to display the entries with 0 points in the results too – or just the entries that will finish with 1 point at least. What do you think? I’m tending more to the second option.

And I second your thanks to all who entered the competition.

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 3696 days


#5 posted 02-07-2007 06:18 PM

I recommend just posting the top 5. If you post the projects with few or no points, it might discourage someone who is a beginner…(like me)

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3759 days


#6 posted 02-07-2007 06:20 PM

Ethan,
The sharpening of your tools is very important. I thought I was doing all right job with my carving chisels, until I bought two Pfeil chisels, they came with an exceptionally sharp edge right out of the box. After that I knew what a sharp chisel was supposed to be like, & I started sharpening mine the same. A person can read, or watch a video, but you can’t touch the edge, or try a cut.
Martin, I agree with Obi, we don’t want to discourage anyone from entering future contests. When you enter a live juried show, they only list the top ones.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 3620 days


#7 posted 02-07-2007 07:24 PM

I agree as well – the top entries.

re: “just do it”—- one of the messages I use in my Life Guiding is that the Universe presents opportunities to learn lessons. When you don’t heed the lesson when it is presented, the lessons get louder, stronger, and most often harder to cope with, so it is much easier to listen the first time.

Mark, as I read your wonderful blog describing the push and pull of the ego/Spirit I could hear the Universe saying, “Just do it , there is a great lesson here”. You tried to ignore it, you avoided the booth.. you tried so hard and so the Universer brought your wife into the picture to guide you. :)

I also found it interesting that, although you considered these woodcarvers far more experienced than you, they sure were excited about and focused on having you as part of their group. I wonder why that was?? Hmmmm Could it be, as Ethan stated, that your skill is something that most of us will probably never reach?

Yup.. the Universe is definitely talking :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

766 posts in 3633 days


#8 posted 02-07-2007 08:01 PM

Well… I didn’t say I’d never achieve it, Debbie. I just said it was a lofty goal!

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3759 days


#9 posted 02-07-2007 08:17 PM

Mark,
Maybe they seen something about your work that intrigued them. I know when I see something new that someone else accomplished, I sometimes get a little envious, & wish I could do just as well. So I think they had a little envy as well.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3786 days


#10 posted 02-07-2007 09:02 PM

As far as posting the winners goes – Don’t list everyone down to zero votes, we don’t want that discouragement… (contest results are up to nothing but the whim of the judges anyhow, you could get best of show one year, and zippo the next)...

I think you should list beyond the top five though. Perhaps include 5 “honorable mentions” to round out a top ten? (perhaps more or less) – as many seems appropriate, if it’s really close for 5th/6th place.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

766 posts in 3633 days


#11 posted 02-07-2007 09:19 PM

I think listing just the top five from each contest is very consistent with the voting process (picking five).

Alternately, I’d be happy knowing just the winners of each contest.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3786 days


#12 posted 02-07-2007 09:34 PM

my votes are in… and I feel good about my choices, though I wonder if i’d have made different ones yesterday, tomorrow or last week.

My choices in craftsmanship were easy, which five would I be happiest to not only have in my livingroom, but to pass down to my grandchildren. The creative side was a little different for me. I tried to take myself out of it (just as Martin did for us out of the voting) and take each piece by its own merit, and not think about how it ranks against my own project (and our 1/47 odds of winning) Getting back to what Mark said above, I wonder if picked the five I did, because I wouldn’t mind seeing those beat my project. (for the record I’d be happy to have those in my house as well.

Anyhow, good luck to everyone who entered, and to those of you who didn’t, I’m looking forward to see what you sumbit for the next contest. Submit your best and most creative. Make it hard for us to choose. Lets have a winner by the narrowest margin possible – not because of mediocrity, but because we’ve inspired each other to do the best we can. That’s what the real prize is.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 3706 days


#13 posted 02-07-2007 10:03 PM

I agree with Scott, I think listing some honorable mentions is a great idea it llets people know how close they came. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Martin Sojka's profile

Martin Sojka

1893 posts in 3932 days


#14 posted 02-07-2007 11:02 PM

So the voting is closed now. Stay tuned ;)

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 3696 days


#15 posted 02-07-2007 11:06 PM

TIME’S UP, WHO WON?

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