Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy (post) Holidays...

This is going to be a good year, once I finish plowing through the holiday leftovers that have invaded my fridge. Gotta love a Scandinavian family, but holy cow do they love their holiday cheeses...

Once all of that has been dealt with, here are a few of the things I want to get done in the coming year:

-I've been talking for years about writing a book about my experiences as a beginning woodworker. Between working for Rockler and Woodcraft, going to the North Bennet Street School, and moving out of the basement and into a 'real' shop space, there's a lot to talk about, and the book has been simmering for years. I started taking the train in November to get some writing time in, and that was when I began to understand that the battery in my laptop is 4 years old. You can't write much in 25 minutes. But my loving sister gave me a new battery for Christmas, so I'll be able to put more time in on that project. Much like all of that holiday cheese, it really is time to get it out of my system, so I can think about something new.

-Related to the book, I'm going to start setting blogging deadlines, in part so that I can work out some of the things I plan on detailing in the book. The entries on shop organization were the first of many topics to come. Going forward, I plan on putting something up every Wednesday and Sunday.

-The shop should be getting some interesting projects pretty soon... among other things, there will be more clocks. And the process of organizing my thoughts on shop organization and workflow has forced me to call BS on some of my current methods, because I really could do better. There are some much needed improvements that need to be made.

-Other than the laptop battery, I got some really cool books this Christmas, one of which is a book on Wharton Esherick. He was (from what little I know) one of the direct fore-runners to studio furniture guys like Sam Maloof and George Nakashima. I enjoy tracing back the roots of the things that I'm excited about. Where did they come from, how did they evolve, that sort of thing. And just flipping through the Esherick book, I can tell it's going to be a blast. He made a lot of very visceral stuff, that reminds me alternately of American craft furniture, and Arts and Crafts furniture from guys like Sidney Barnsley. (Though Esherick's work seems a little more rough around the edges.) One of the things I want to write more about in the future is the art of woodworking, and pieces that actually inspire me. Shop methods and so on are useful when it comes to moving things forward a little faster, but inspiration is the fuel in the tank that keeps me going. I feel like the magazines do a methodical job of beating dovetails and beginner stuff to death, while ignoring a lot of the other really inspiring stuff that's out there. American craft furniture is a good place to start, but there's a lot more that I want to look into, from all over the world. Even if I don't plan to make most of it, it's usually enlightening to try to understand how things were made, and to wrap my mind around why various designs are so exciting.

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