finding my groove

The last few days have been tough. I’ve bee struggling with life in the new city and not knowing what I should be making. Today was different. As I munched on a giant breakfast bagel from a street vendor this morning, I could tell it was going to be a good day.

ben-w-u-shapeThe weather was perfect and ideas for new sculptures were running through my mind. But for me to make these pieces I would need wood, lots and lots of wood. With great excitement I returned to my room and my computer and phone to plan a wood mission. With a crudely sketched map, I ran to the shop to announce I was going to get wood. Fortunately Neil Turner said we would go together. So off we went, through parts of the city we had not seen. Through a run-down neighborhood, across a river and through a park we went to the Great Philadelphia Wood Dump. HAH! YES! It was still there and we beheld a new log which Neil dubbed Arthur’s Ash. I attacked a sycamore log about three feet across with our little saw and metal and gas and fire prevailed over wood. Chunk after chunk littered the battleground and we chopped, rolled and gatherd the wood together into a load which nearly filled the back of the van. If we had picked up a hitchhiker on the way back they would have had to ride on the roof. Stowaways boarded in the form of ear wigs and they are now in the shop. Once we had all the wood in the studio, I had to force myself to eat because I was so eager to start working with this new material. Burrito down, rice clinging to my face, I began to saw the wood. I took a sixteen inch cube of sycamore and cut a u shape from one side, flipped it, rotated it 90 degreed and cut an identical u. I then pounded on the cut pieces as hard as I could with a machinists hammer and I was lucky nothing went wrong because I had very little concern for anything around me or myself. I felt like I was in a battle for my life and the wood I wanted out of there was the enemy tribe. When one of the chunks would not yield, I made wedges from wood and used them to split it out. I then had a very interesting shape, the very one that just this morning I had envisioned. This process of coming up with an idea and seeing it become real is very satisfying. Im not taking my time and making everything just so. If it looks rough, thats OK! Its a rough Process! Chainsaws, Grinders Noise Dust Dirt Bugs, have an idea, make it happen move on. Goodnight.

International Turning Exchange 2013, Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia

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