Across the Divide

The picture you see today is of a box I did some time ago. It reflects two changes in my woodworking life.

First, I wanted to move a little more fluidly in wood. That’s, at least, how I thought about it. I wanted to learn to inlay because it seemed a departure from the rather dull shaping that my work had become. What I did was to set aside about 3 weeks one summer to learn how to begin. I got a few books on the subject and watched some videos. These served to tell me

a)that I had no idea what I was about to begin and

b)that most of the advice I was able to glean didn’t work with my hands and eyes on actual wood.

Over time, I was able to cobble together a process that began to give me results I wasn’t afraid to show to someone else. I began experimenting with inlaying glass and plastic also.

Second, I wanted to express myself in something a little closer to words than I could with my woodworking skills. It wasn’t that I couldn’t make complex and mind-engaging things (I once made a bird within a bird within a bird Christmas ornament for the governor’s tree—by virtue of my membership in Tamarack). It was that I was seeking another way to express symbolism.

The design on the top of the box you see has become an enduring one because it says something about reflected light and its disturbance. We are all reflected light, and our refulgence is vulnerable to disturbance, causing shadows on its receptive surfaces. Our life, our love, is susceptible to the changes in ourselves caused from outside and inside. This is how people know and experience us.

After looking at designs by Durer, I realized that I wasn’t the greatest (or even one of the better) thinkers and designers. However, I could get a little closer to the life I have and which bears meaning for me. It’s just my way of stretching across the divide that is between me and others.


You can find Bourgeois Furniture at Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg, WV and at Bent River Trading Post in Capon Bridge, WV.