Sunday, March 31, 2013

making things

I'm always banging on about making things, but this Easter, the making all happened in the kitchen. We love to have our adult children and their partners and off-spring stay with us over festive holidays, and particularly sharing food with them around our table. This (and the sink) is generally agreed to be the place where conversation is most rich and richly shared.

Julia has a phenomenal capacity to cater for these meals, and over the long week-end she created a series of sensational meals from piles of simple, real ingredients, and I had the pleasure of sitting at the other end of the table, meal after meal and watching as the food performed its magic. Everyone pitched in in their own way, but this was very much an orchestration of her design and labour.

I include this pic of her berry muffins, not because they were my favourite, but because they sat there steaming in such glorious colour, I couldn't resist. This is the magic of everyday creativity- the sort that stimulates the senses, the conversations and the sense of belonging that for me represents the  intense pleasure of gathered family.

It doesn't have to be wood to be good....

Saturday, March 23, 2013

lost for words

This blog has been quiet for some time, and I thought it was time to try to find some words.

Words simply fell off the keyboard for me for a few years, maybe because I had an unreasonable belief in the value of the things I was into. But I soon ran out of words and my interior world became more and more fixed to the brain cells that produced it.

January in the countryside here was hot and dry, but something in the weather and the location of our house conspired to fix in my mind the idea of winding up my violin making business, and seeing what it would be like to retire.

My little business in Geelong has given me about twenty wonderful years being paid to muck about with hand tools, and I have enjoyed a satisfying relationship with many fine clients. One particular joy has been in trying to develop a sensitivity to the chemistry that can link a young person to an instrument in such a way as to transform their playing and their motivation. Asking the right questions and sensing what type of instrument will appeal- for all the human and irrational reasons that make music such a rich and beautiful thing- and seeing the magic that happens when a young person falls in love with a hollow bit of wood is a very different experience from selling a mere consumerist object.

One of the things I will miss (and which I have probably become unconsciously dependent upon) is the regular affirmation that clients give me about my little old workshop and my collection of hand tools. It does feel good...

The picture above is of a new annexe that I am building for my tools to live in, and we will see if I can make a new life for them here where there are no clients.