has always had a dependence on wood. It is the most common substance
that we use next to the earth itself. Throughout the years of
man's history it has been a potent source of comfort: heat,
shelter, tools, benches and transportation. There is hardly
a field of activity in which wood does not play a part.
is more natural than for a man to use such a versatile material
as a medium in which to express his love of form and line and
shape? In imagination we can go back into the past and see man
using wood to his immediate advantage-the first wheel, the first
means of water transport, the first fire, the first place to
sit off the cold of stone or earth. Even today we can find primitive
men using wood for these elemental needs. What is more logical
than to expect that man should resort to this most plentiful
material as a means of expressing himself in tangible form-a
way to embellish things?
our "sophisticated world" of today we still use wood
for many of our comforts. Of course, people who must be "different"
won't agree that wood has a place in the field of design, of
decoration, of utility. I am old-fashioned enough to think that
wood has its place in these fields. How else can we feel-those
of us who love wood for its versatility, its beauty, its feel-when
we look out of doors and see the beauty in each tree across
the field? When people are surrounded by the forests, it is
natural to presume that they are inspired to use this common
means to tell a story. Give a small boy a jackknife and watch
him whittle out "something." Give a man a jackknife
and he, too, whittles out "something." Give a wood
carver a shaped tool and he also will whittle out "something."
love of making something of beauty for beauty's sake goes far
back into the history of man. Someone has said that beauty is
in the eye of the beholder. For my part, I think that beauty
is in the eye and mind of the creator, the worker, the artisan
who makes things from the material at hand. The results can
be called "art," I suppose. However, I like to think
that I make things because I have a small gift of tool manipulation.
Other people like the sort of work I do. They call it "art."
I call it wood carving and let it go at that. The art of wood
carving, then, is a form of expression that lets me use my small
skills, imagination, and love of line to express some of the
feeling I have for the medium in which I have chosen to work.
I let off steam in some of my carvings about the encroachment
on our liberties and freedoms by the unthinking and those trying
to impose their privilege upon us.
Viking ships, Phoenician galleys, Roman men-of-war, Chinese
junks, American clipper ships and modern yachts are all expressions
of men's attempts to use wood for their own purposes. When any
of these craft was built, the desire to add something to their
undoubted beauty of line inspired the builders to embellish
the hulls fore and aft with some greater form of beauty. The
stern transoms, the bow and even the catheads were logical places
to add bits of fancy work such as scrolls and banners, figureheads
result was not "to gild the lily," but to enhance
the already created beauty of the vessel. There can be humor
in the work of wood carvers. Some years ago Life magazine had
some pictures of two miserere. One was a man beating his wife.
I forget the other. Nevertheless, the ancient craftsman who
made these two carvings had undoubtedly spent months, probably
years, carving pew ends, altar screens, rood screens and the
Lord knows what else. Suddenly he made up his mind that there
should be some slight bit of levity in the seriousness of his
work and where better to hide his humor than under the seat
of the mighty?
are some of us who see beauty in the hard lines of mathematics
as expressed in the stark, unadorned lines of our modern architectural
forms. I can appreciate the magnificent sweep and curve of the
George Washington Bridge, the splendor of the United Nations
Buildings, the great sweep of the high, vaulted ceiling of the
Cathedral of St. John the Divine. In the Cathedral, however,
the mathematical certainty of line and form is warmed and becomes
more intimate for me because of the wonderful woodwork that
patient hands and years of time have created. Without this warmth
and intimacy of a common substance, the starkness of the stone
and the mathematics would be awe inspiring but not soul lifting.
wood to me is the living expression of beauty. What I do to
it is tinged with this same feeling. Nature's patient years
went into its making. Who are we, in the hurry and bustle of
this world, to take other than patient time to say in wood what
words fail to say?
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and scroll saw
In getting out sailing orders for vessels that are to make a sea
voyage there is a sentence