”Early Beginnings of an Art-Full Start”
....when i awake ,the passion of the morning dawn is upon me,
feeding me fire from deep within my bones as the sound of the woods comes calling….
—-calling me out,
screaming my name as the creature within me also howls back in greeting,
just as old bones also start to move as i fall back into place,
testing my footing now i give rise to my spirit as i stand up,
and so will i begin this day as i will my-self to go forth….
—-how i start is my art-full beginning,
how i carry on is the craftsman i art,
and how i finish is the heaven i see expressing art-full thanks! —-flp
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”Birch Burler’s Delight”
....birch burler’s delight is like fire in the sky on my horizon of seeing….
I came across this piece out in the woods three winter ago, back in 2005 and made my first cut that winter as I dropped the upper trunk and let the rest sit to start drying. Then came next winter of 2006, when I cut the trunk at the base and let sit till spring decided to awaken. This past spring I dragged the trunk onto a trailer and brought the burl in so I could start doing some early prep work.
This past spring I debarked the trunk and flipped it over to stand upright to start drying and curing in the elements of weather. How I start a piece determines a lot about the nature of character that that piece will show forth upon completion. Leaving the bark on or waxing the burl will slow the curing process down and also help to prevent splitting and checking of the wood. In the case of this burl I’m not opposed to checking of wood since this is one of the ‘characters of beauty’ that I am seeking after. And yes, I already have some nicely defined checks that are developing in the area of the burl.
What will become of this burl has not yet been revealed to me and so the piece just sits outside the entrance to my workshop waiting and wondering as much as I do. We see each other daily and sometimes this is nothing more then the passing glance as I go my way, while on other occasions I stop and examine the burl and touch the wood, as one waiting to feel the spirit that lies within. What will come, will yet be and as there is no pressing engagement date yet, this piece of wood and I just wait for the drying and curing to be completed.
Burls can be objects of woodworking dreams as turners, sculptures and rustic furniture makers all look and see into a burl as coming from their own perspective of woodworking. Just as in the end, the burl has the final say, as you never know what is on the inside of the wood till you start making that first cut. I have seen burls that looked good on the outside, that were rotten and punky within and then I have also rejoiced after that first cut, when what appeared to be a common burl on the outside, revealed characters of beauty’ within.
....and can you spot the cat? We presently have four cats living and sharing space on this farm with us and they all do their part of work also. I name the cats after ‘barn parts’ and so this ones name is ‘Summer Beam’.
I was reading and thinking last night on spiritual groweth and how we prepare ourselves to start a project and so I will share one last story with you.
“Woodworker Ch’ing carved a piece of wood and made a bell stand, and when
it was finished, everyone who saw it marveled, for it seemed to be the
work of gods or spirits. When the Marquis of Lu saw it, he asked, “What
art is it you have?” Ch’ing replied, “I am only a craftsman—how would I
have any art? There is one thing, however. When I am going to make a
bell stand, I never let it wear out my energy. I always fast in order to
still my mind. When I have fasted for three days, I no longer have any
thought of congratulations or rewards, of titles or stipends. When I have
fasted for five days, I no longer have any thought of praise or blame, of
skill or clumsiness. And when I have fasted seven days, I am so still
that I forget I have four limbs and a form and body. By that time, the
ruler and his court no longer exist for me. My skill is concentrated and
all outside distractions fade away. After that, I go into the mountain
forest and examine the Heavenly nature of the trees. If I find one of
superlative form, and I can see a bell stand there, I put my hand to the
job of carving; if not, I let it go. This way I am simply matching up
‘Heaven’ with ‘Heaven.’ That’s probably the reason that people wonder if
the results were not made by spirits.” —-Taoism. Chuang Tzu 19
You all have a very good day!!!
-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/