Wood Gathering Mode: An Introduction
….wood and hobbits have a way of drawing from each other,
so enter in at this enclave and find your-self in an-other world,
far from the streams of endless mind clutter that sucks one dry,
till I pull my-self through a space bigger then meets the eye,
this is where I am released into a world that knows no-boundaries,
no-boundaries and therefore no-time restraints and one is free to wonder….
….ever so often one needs to gather.
Weather permitting, I look forward to this time of the year as a chance to get out-side of my confinements of the winter and find inspiration in the woods that so surround me. And so slowly over the course of the coming days and weeks, I start re-turning to those places that have been places of buried silence through-out the winter months. Some of these places I alone know of, some have been shared with wife when we both go out….and then there are those that I guard with deepest jealousy, that I would never reveal to an-other soul. And then there are also those near and far places that go beyond my neck of the woods, places I have found by just out walking on the prowl (on a Walkabout), plus the ones that I have put together by studying maps and reading in the old accounts of yesterday’s seekers into the woods of New England.
Not being a techno freak out here in the woods and to the point of even shunning GPS systems, I prefer to go into the woods trusting on my honorable compass and the gut instincts of one who has long ago learned to listen to the woods. Not much is needed out here beyond sketch pad, a journal, a camera plus extra batteries, my jet boil, tea, water, nuts, and dried fruit. Just release me into the woods and my spirit soars to a place of no-boundaries, no-limits, and the future (my future) is caught up in the laughter of the now, as expressed by and in the woods. Gathering mode is a place where I never re-turn empty-minded, my mind is filled with all the opportunities of possibilities that exist within this space of time we call ‘the now’. Gathering mode leads me into the fields of imagination, where inspiration is all-ways just around the next tree and my dreams are given by the ancients of the woods, to be received in thanks-giving and used in my visions of ‘wood art’. Gathering mode requires no-computer and therefore draws not from the grids of a power backed society. Gathering mode needs no-books, no-cd’s, no-videos and my camera is an-other machine which can often be turned off if I or the woods so desires a moment of threnody. Gathering mode produces riches and wealth that far exceeds all the monies and precious metals of this world, plus will in-turn create a state of health that draws upon the abundance of what is all around me….and mind you that this is being said by one who knows and lives with hepatic dis-ease on a daily and nightly basis. And for this writing which includes a place of high-lite//high-life, there is the re-turn to my workshop,where I can lay forth all my gathered treasures, while I start listening over time for these to start speaking of what their future destinies are to be-come in works of ‘wood art’.
Much of what I have learned about working the wood, comes from my sittings and gazing upon the beauty of creation that is written in trees. How better to learn of wood joinery, then to take the time of silence and look with the eyes of a seer, into seeing the many joints of a tree along with it’s branches….understanding their joinery and stress points, even why some have held intact and others have failed over their life-span. Do you want to understand wood finishes, then go and study the bark of different trees….those that are today still standing and also the ones now laying on the ground dead and rotting but still able to teach much. How about understanding the foundations of legs as found in benches, chairs and tables….then go and start by looking upon the young shoots in their early beginnings while following others as they grow into youth and the mature years, and then look upon the ‘ancients’ and how they have in turn are living their days upon the earth. Again joinery and how two woods go together while in-turn complimenting each other, look to the trees and see how they give way to each other and so in the end two trees be-come as one….and yes, this is both a magnificent sight and learning experience. Trees have taught me what I never could have learned by way of an-other or who I like to call ‘noisy man’ in all his synagogs (crematories) of dead learning….(does this statement offend you?) well then go and labor by what other’s are willing to sell you, but in the end if one continues to aspirations of being a worker of wood, you will reject all that and go forth to learn from the real source as found in wood by trees.
Next I will admit//concede that if one has no-time for this type of wood learning, one is better to just be-come a clone of the taste of his//her choice….and just proceed to being a soaker of the quick fix. Learning in silence from the trees as they re-veal wood does take time and years, while not giving much to put on a resume and will over time not exactly make you fit in with the regular woodworking crowd, but at the same time it will not allow one to dry up with wood dreams and will also sustain one through-out the lean times. One of the saddest moments is what other woodworkers tell me when their quick fixed emotions of woodworking fail, their newly bought tools start to gather dust and then they tell me they’re done with woodworking….moving on they say. So turning the page so to speak they often go off the wood working field in search off some-thing more along the lines of where they now are dreaming. I often talk of my wood dreams and how these dreams work along in the process with inspiration and coupled by imagination, but your dreams will never produce fruit until you can get your hands busy at working the wood. All one’s dreams will in turn be-come as clouds with-out water….hot air, until the moment comes when your dreams give birth to legs….legs to stand upon and legs that give action to those hands that have been faineant, during those times you have spent in gathering mode. I can-not say enough about gathering mode, but what must needs come next is action on the part of the woodworker….that in-turn leads to those works of ‘wood art’ one needs to produce in order to not be-come stagnant. In my experience these times of work that come after gathering will also lead me to dis-connect from all outside influence. I will stop looking at wood creations created by other’s, while also being care-full or guarded about what I read and talk about concerning the creation I am bringing forth. Even my wife knows that I’m not going to tell her much about what is going on, as I really do not want to hear other’s opinions….and often I will un-plug from woodworking forums and go off into silence.
The idea I am trying to bring forth and paint a picture of here is that ‘gathering mode’ is where it all starts. Whether I am silent or speaking with words that have gripped my soul, is just the all and all of who I am. Visitors and clients who come here to see me often expect to be shown great wonders in my workshop, where they can sit around and chew on the fat of what’s going on. Imagine their surprise when I tell them my workshop is just that ‘my workshop’, but if they really want to see where it all starts and where I live….then follow me into the woods. When these call me up wanting to come and visit, I express that they should wear comfortable casual or walking clothes along with some good boots and that I will include the food….though it will be vegetarian in essence, and yes cameras are allowed for all outside activity. My expressions of ‘wood art’ are learned from the woods and though I did live in that asphalt jungle of a past era, I want these customers to leave all that behind them while here and come into a new plane of understanding about where their work of art is coming from. These forest and woods that so surround me are my ‘living wood art gallery’ where the trees and animals know me, not as a hunter come to take their life….but as a ‘gather’ who comes to first gather understanding and then take with me what the ancients of trees have so passed on for my use. In the end where I started as a gather now be-comes a place where I once again am a harbinger of that to come.
Ramble-ramble-snap-and-fizzle, my how the words flow like those wood chips that come flying off the end of my chainsaw, till once again I know that this is what I came here for.
….a ‘very good’ place to start, and down there in the bottom right corner you will see a dark spot where we shall enter in at….
….and so I will leave us walking today, a path that goes into the woods as we go forth to meet some of my friends….
....to be continued:
”....work smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood....”
-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/