40 Years at the Bench
About this time of year, in July 1974, I started full time work as a cabinetmaker. That was 40 years ago. I’m blessed in that I absolutely love what I do in life and where I live. Wood is a material that is very unique not only in it’s grain, color, and texture but it is an organic material with a soul or spirit to it. To the Daoist everything has Qi which is the life force. Even after the wood is cut there is still Qi in it. When working with the wood my Qi and the wood’s Qi mingle in a dance that that is really extraordinary in the results. The most visible of which is beauty , harmony ,and proportions. These are the basics of classical art and architecture which are derived from nature. My first shop was in Knoxville, Tenn. . It was small 600 sq.ft. you didn’t have room for two cat to dance in that shop. But some pretty amazing pieces of furniture and work came out of that wee shop. As that valley where my house and shop were grew with subdivisions and noise I still had a beautiful view to the Cumberland mountains. I moved to Flag Pond, Tenn., population 850 souls, a little over nine years ago to study Traditional Chinese Medicine which is my second love in life. I’ve used Chinese Medicine for all of my medical needs for the last nineteen years and will continue to use that unless I need surgery for something. When the school closed because of financial trouble I decided to build the shop that I had always wanted. The new shop is 2,500 sq. ft. and sits by a creek up here in the mountains. All that I can hear in either the house or the shop is the sound of the creek running and the clocks ticking. There have been good times and hard times over the last 40 years but I wouldn’t trade the way I’ve spent it for anything. This art, craft,and trade is a way of life for me. I see my time growing shorter at 64 years now but with any luck here is to the next 20 years. Also a word of thanks to all of my old clients, present clients, and new clients yet to be for making all of this possible.