I love getting back to the wood lathe. There is something mysteriously magical in working with wood. I always learn something. Odd lessons are the norm, filled with personal insights. When it happens in the company of friends, brothers included, the process always becomes a memory creator.
As I worked with my brothers, we exchange ideas on design, challenges, and techniques. There is always more to the story than what my eyes are telling me. Listening to the observations others bring is a gift. Their insights, even ones I disagree with, make my vision greater than it way.
In the spirit that it is often easier to teach than it is to do, gentle reminders of turning techniques open each to the potential of turning something even better than one’s imagination. One of the mantras I often use is one of gentleness. Never be greedy! The scrapes and gouges will do their work in harmony with the wood. Pushing the process invites a disaster. Rushing is a opening for a mistake. Being aggressive brings rough patches.
Reminders, even the obvious ones, are gifts from one to another. They may not feel good, but the potential for more comes with hearing. We may not be ready to hear them, yet danger can be avoided when we opening ourselves up. In an old crisis, one stood and spoke to the crowd. “‘Rome, remember, does not look kindly on rioters.’ With that, he sent them home.” (Acts 19.41) Listening gave one the opportunity to live another day. Ignoring wisdom’s voice closed that door.
The collaboration that began on day one continued into the next. One person’s insight became another’s next move. One warning opened up the opportunity to take the piece to a new level. First, one plate, then a bowl, and then a motor and pestle. It started with turning then to sanding and onto finishes.
I look back on the memories of the process and results. I do not remember the reminders. I do recall the wonder of friendship, community, and the creative wonder of working together.