The Moving Finger of Creativity

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tended to look with a certain amount of fondness on stories that feature the winning power of slowness. In fact, however, I work much faster now (and with fewer mistakes) than I did as a younger man. My sense of perspective is sharper and my skills are higher. What this means is that as I

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Learning To Lean

I once worked with a political organizer in the Little Rock, Arkansas area who had a unique gift. She was able to put her finger on the highest values before us, define them in ways that we could see what they were, and help us to take regular daily steps to achieve them. I can remember our group being mired

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MAD, SAD OR BAD

I grew up around the generation of men who had returned from fighting in the Second World War. This was not a group of people who shared their feelings readily. In fact, in my mind to be a man meant to be emotionally subdued – at least on the surface. It was only as my experience of people expanded that

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Christmas

Let’s assume for a moment that the basis of reality is not a system of forces with cause and effect relationships on one level and unfathomable juxtapositions on another.  Suppose the central factor in our social reality is not economic with the inexorable supply and demand of goods and services that denotes.  What if the forces of public opinion and military might

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easy Come…

  Well, you know the rest.  I have heard a phrase from customers (very few artisans will say this) at almost every encounter: if you love what you do, it must be easy.  This may be a reaction to the drudgery and unhappiness many of us feel in our work.  We are in large organizations where our point of view doesn’t count.  We are

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Who Cares?

  Throughout my work this question lingers, a soul-hungry ghost.  Who cares if I back up and do something better when no one – or very few will notice?  Who cares if I sacrificially stretch myself to new skills and designs which make my furniture better?  Who cares if I give myself and skills in service to my church and community?  Who cares? Lots

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The Real Deal

I interact with people around my work and artisinal work in general, I notice in them an anti-machine bias. For instance, I might receive a gracious compliment about my furniture followed by the statement: “It’s so nice to see people hand making furniture.”  Likewise, a presentation by noted artists in our area always seems to begin with how Western civilization ran

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At One

There is no shortcut in the process of coming together between maker and user.  In the world of wood artisanship, there is a sense that building by hand somehow puts more of the maker in a piece, and thus, moves him or her closer to the user of the work. The basic problem with this is what does “hand made” mean?  I’ve

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A New Thing

As a boy of 12, I got to work in a cabinetmaker’s shop. I say ‘work’, but help was more like what I did. I swept floors, kept machinery clean, went for coffee and did little things. The cabinetmaker showed me how to sand the edges of doors and round off the sharp corners. I learned how to support heavy

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