I am involved in several different forums. My association with groups an online forums began back in 1997 when I got my first home computer. I was just beginning to work as a designer in the scroll saw and woodworking field and I had met some people at some of the scroll saw picnics who used the computer frequently. I thought it was a great way to keep in touch with others from all over the country, and keep our passion for woodworking alive throughout the year.
As the internet grew, so did our group of friends. Soon we met regularly on Tuesday and Thursday nights in a chat room hosted by American Woodworker (I think) magazine. On those nights, there were anywhere from 10 to sometimes even 50 of us participating at a given time. I remember how amazed I was that we were all able to talk and visit real time – even though we lived anywhere from New York to Chicago to Oregon. We would chat and laugh and visit just as if we were all sitting in the same room. There were no stalkers or predators there, just a bunch of people brought together by their love of woodworking.
Many years have passed since then and the internet has come a long, long way. While I don’t visit the chat rooms very often, I am still friends with many of those that used to be in our original group. Several of them I have met in person, and some of them (like my friend Leldon, who helps me proof read my patterns) I still am very close with and talk to several times a week. It is really a great thing.
We hear a lot about ‘social networking’ these days. There are so many sites like Facebook and Lumberjocks and others of that nature that bring people with common interests together. These sites offer a gathering place where we can share stories, pictures and knowledge, and they become the catalyst for some wonderful friendships. I have witnessed that first hand, and I can attest to the many friendships that I have made this way. I have ‘met’ people from all over the world here, who have helped me and supported me and have cheered me on through good times and bad. While I have never met many of these people in person, I don’t doubt for a second that they are my friends, and consider them as such.
There is something about creative people getting together that is truly wonderful. While many online places seem to invite deception and dishonesty, I find that these sites filled with creative people – be it my woodworking friends or my painting friends – are filled with genuine, caring and talented people who just want to share their creativity with others. Of course, there are a few exceptions that may pop up here and that, but for the most part, I find that it is a safe place to enjoy each other’s talents and share knowledge and love of our craft. I thoroughly enjoy coming here each day and I truly value the many friendships that I have made with people all over the world, some who I have never met face to face.
Yesterday in the mail I received a wonderful gift from a friend here on Lumberjocks. It was a gift of a beautiful cutting board from Ellen35. I have been ‘buddies’ with Ellen almost since I have been coming to the site, and she really helped me out last summer when I had some bad reactions to some bug bites. Her thoughtfulness and kind advice helped me a great deal and I was grateful that she took the extra time to talk to me about the problem I had.
Ellen has always been a great support not only to myself, but to others here on the site. I have enjoyed not only seeing her beautiful projects but also hearing stories of how she has interacted with many other woodworkers, several whom she was fortunate to have met in person.
I was so thrilled to receive this nice little board. It is made mostly of beautifully figured cherry, and has a thin inlaid stripe of maple and a walnut edge.
It is compact in size and wonderful for those smaller cutting jobs around the kitchen. I currently have a cheap nylon board in the same size which I do use frequently, but is an eyesore. While I am tempted to not use this because it is so pretty, I think I will use it as it is intended and enjoy it in the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
It is people like this that keep me coming back here every morning. You are all wonderful and supportive and I see how you all help each other and keep encouraging and teaching and sharing. This is a community that I want to be a part of and I am grateful that you all have accepted me the way you have. I have made a lot of wonderful and lasting friendships here and I feel as close to you all as if you are right down the road from me, even though many of you are half a world apart.
Thank you so much, Ellen. Your caring and giving and amazing talent reaches so far. You are a fine representation of how so many people on this site are, and show that there are many, many good people in the world who are kind and thoughtful and make beautiful things just for the sake of making themselves and others happy. I so appreciate your kind and thoughtful gift. And I will cherish it for years to come.
Have a beautiful day everyone! Try to do something to make someone smile. :D
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"