"Teller of Life’ as I Now Live Wood" --by RusticWoodArt #4: "Practicing My Takuma" --by RusticWoodArt

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Blog entry by frank posted 04-07-2007 08:54 PM 1065 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: "The Mantrap of Hand Made Wood Art" Part 4 of "Teller of Life’ as I Now Live Wood" --by RusticWoodArt series Part 5: "Taste Tested Words" »

Practicing My Takuma of balance is the art form of a proper stance, where i thought my-self to be the one in control of the ‘takuma’, till one day i understood the power the ‘takuma’ exerted over me, and in the action of pull and polish….

..................................(—-i became as one within the cut—-).................................

....and so as i sat in the practiced landscape of a newly dis-covered dawn, where what had been silence, is now the high-lighted audio of a life gone boundless, in this place of my being….

—-i am awakened to the inner laughter, of lighted partitions that are un-evenly strung across the bays of this my place, where the joists of well pegged hemlock holds me steady,

as i gaze upon the beauty of your shadowed ridge pole….

And even now my mind starts to loosen the grip, that those thinking thoughts of well intended others have so exercised to write within me. This was space-time continuum, where all I was, was the almost entire oeuvre of the ‘they have said crowd’. This is where the old timer found me and in his place of no-time, he showed me my beginnings from before beginning.

....drifting back to those places of mind which seem as only yesterday….and in that moment of now, I hear the opening of the barn door. The old timer comes in, stomping the mud from off his boots, where only minutes ago they had been fighting to grip the surface of dirt and water. Throwing his jacket onto a peg that is protruding from one of the gun stock posts, he makes his way over to the water kettle and pours some water into the cup that I have already filled with tea leaves in anticipation of his coming. “I saw coyote tracks on the abutted ledge of upper trail, at the point where the slope goes northwest” he says as off he goes in search of a rasp for working some wood.

I likewise continue hand cutting by chisel, a butterfly joint into the crutch area of a slab of walnut, all the while trying to maintain an act of indifference to what has just been said. Coyote tracks in the spring, means I will most likely find a den nearby….and so there is the sense of satisfaction, that now floods my being as I give thanks for some more of this act off being that is called new life. I know that tonight I will once again go in the darkness of night, and meld myself into the base of that old spruce pine, where sits this one guarding the face of the out-cropping there. Why it was just earlier this week that I was awakened to the sound of yelping greetings, as another family of coyote’s played in the darkened cover of night, celebrating life within the pack. where did that piece of ebony go to that I was using for a pattern?

This is the life that the old timer awakened within me, as I now began understanding that all that was out there in those woods worked and played on stage of ordered harmony. I had once seen chaos in the seasons of the forest, which in turn spilled over into the way that I interpreted those climatic events, often written out before me, as I drifted between seeing far-sighted and near-sighted. In the seasons of then, I had missed the point that all seasons are for the universal harmony of the all, and as I could take from one season and give thanks….so was the next season not wasted, but waited patiently there for me, yelping it’s greetings of wholesome wholly new life!

And so were my seasons of barn life and furniture life, activities that up to now had once been a thing were I never tried to understand the wood, since there were always those many other’s, who would be more then too glad to give me their opinion and send me on my way. My furniture building at that point, was not a thing of creativity, but could be likened more to manipulation of the wood, in order to make the wood fit what I had determined. If you had of told me about someone you knew, who talked of sitting in silence before the wood, to hear what the spirit of the wood was saying, I would have laughed in your face. My concern in those days was, where could I go and buy some ready to go lengths of board, at my ‘isles of lumber’ and then on my way home stopping to get the newest power tool on the market. My practice was a religion of wood making according to the tradition of the scribes and pharisees, were I followed their rules according to the rules of rote. Rote woodworking is the easiest and safest way to go, since this way requires only that I be able to keep up with the latest learning curve and technical mood swing. Back then, upon entering my workspace, the first thing I did was flip the lights on and prepare to do another hours of grind, as I also knew that speed was of extreme importance, since I could hardly wait to finish this project, collect my money and get on with the next one. Ha! upon entering the barn, I will often just stand there and hear the wood breathe.

And so where does ‘practicing my takuma’ come into this woodworking story as I now work with the wood? I call this way, ‘the practice of takuma’, since I have learned the beauty that comes with refreshment of my spirit, just as I have also learned the beauty of the Japanese Takuma Saw. To sit that saw into the wood is to know the timeless practice of balancing the stroke of the pull//push….between the cut and the polish of the wood. No pressure need be exerted in this craft of art, as the steel and wood give way to each other, neither exerting their resistance to the other, but standing aside as the cut is realized as all-ready done. In the spirit of steel and wood, my hand becomes the balance between that push-pull, where there is only a continuous motion of all harmony.

....this is how my life has now given up the striving to create, as i now know that what is not seen, is often more seen and heard in the opened heavens beyond the eye of man, where spirit has stepped beyond space-time continuum….

—-and of such is my be-ing a worker of wood, where the breathing of the wood works a creation in me, i am caught in the groove of inhale-exhale, as the hand of wood holds me true to the design that is written within….

I was up on the third floor of the barn earlier this week, setting up to start a new ‘free-form’ sculpture, that is now becoming as in ‘the process’. So I snapped this photo of a last year’s wasp nest at the north peak of the outside bent….

....still like to get up here and just sit in silence, and when the silence becomes ripe, the whole barn breaks into a mighty praise of singing wood….(outside bent at north end, where ridge pole meets bent and then all tied with oak peg)....

Have a very good rest of the day!

-- --frank, NH,

2 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4309 days

#1 posted 04-07-2007 09:36 PM

What a barn! Most old barns locally have decayed or been removed for reasons of economy. Replaced by steel sheds like my shop…but I was in a hurry. It seemed like a good idea at the time…I didn’t know it could be takuma built.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#2 posted 04-07-2007 11:06 PM

((sitting silently as I bring myself back into my own space/time/journey))
Quite the journey you always take us on.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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