Box #1
 Box #2
 Box #3
 lacewood, spalted maple, pink ivory
 imbuya, spalted maple, european pear
 english brown oak, masur birch, ebony
 12" x 8-1/2" x 3" (approx)
 15" x 7" x 3"      (approx)
 13" x 7" x 3"      (approx)
sold
sold
$950

.Show() 

So we're strolling along at a crafts show, checking out the wares. We were there to buy a gift or two, but the conversation had turned to whether I should exhibit at one of these shows, what that would be like, what it would entail.

Feasible? Worthwhile? Foolhardy?

We came to a potter's booth. I'm not interested in ceramics; my glazed eyes usually wander over glazed items with little enthusiasm.

But this was different. This artist was talented, for sure. Really good. Even I could see that. Everything was expertly thrown, fired to perfection - imaginative, colorful, witty.

"Well done," I thought, turning away.

Something in the corner, however, caught my eye. An odd shape, it wasn't a vase, or a jug. Not a cup or a plate. It was sort of ... lumpy, shaped like...well, I couldn't really say. Kind of mysterious. And interesting, at least to me. So I approached the artist, a middle-aged Japanese fellow and asked him what exactly the object was.

"I don't know," he answered, shrugging.

This refreshing response merited an incisive follow-up.

"Well, then, what does it do?" Incisive, it turns out, I'm not.


Another shrug. He shook his head apologetically, bent down to peer at the object, and examined it carefully, as if seeing it for the first time.

He seemed genuinely puzzled.

"I really don't know...," he murmured, staring at it, then looked up at me expectantly.

I didn't know either.

"Did you make it?"


"Oh, yes, yes!" he exclaimed, vigorously nodding, "Yes, I made it." He smiled proudly.

That was good enough for me. Provenance now firmly established, I bought it.

(There's a picture of it at the bottom of the page. I still don't know what it is. If you do, let me know. Maybe I can pass the information along to the artist.)

Meet me at the show in which I'm exhibiting this December and, unfortunately, you may be reminded of the little episode above. Although I can almost always identify what it is I've made (a box, probably), more in-depth information might not be readily available. To be quite honest, the vast abyss of my blissful woodworking ignorance just grows as I get older. I don't know whether dowel joints are stronger than mortise and tenon joints, what the best angle for dovetails is, where Castello boxwood comes from, or who makes the best router.

Sharpening technique? Mine changes daily. Finishing schedule? Ditto.

Is white glue better than yellow glue? Japanese chisels better than western ones? Sawstop safety worth the extra money?

Beats me.

And, as for design, well, if we talk about it, you have to promise not to laugh...

At the risk of sounding like an idiot who's taken the tag line of a completely inane ESPN commercial to heart - "I just do it."

Besides, this is the first show we've ever been in and I have no idea how to act, how to engage people, how to sell. Not even sure I can act appropriately (Does giggling nervously disguise gaping holes in one's demeanor?)

However, I will definitely try to be outgoing, polite, and cordial, likely shocking 95% of the friends and family who've threatened to show up.


Why we're doing this (yes, Karen has once again shown remarkable tolerance for her husband's lunacy; she'll be there to lend more than moral support) is anybody's guess. There is the notion that we might sell a few boxes. Possible, I suppose, but given our prices, I doubt we'll be faced with a mob of frenzied customers flinging credit cards at us.

No, it has to be the experience, the attempt, the effort. We haven't done this before. Don't know what we're doing. Maybe never do it again.

For what more, really, can you ask? An event filled with uncertainty and fraught with anxiety. Heaps of energy expended with little thought to reward or recompense.

Sounds like a lot of stuff we do.

Sounds sort of like making a box...

 

 

 

 




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