Creating – is this what life is really about??

I would like to describe the process of making. 

Further, the power of making

Further still the peace that making gives me.


When I decide to make something I loose sight of the ordinary world – all that exists is the project and me – the me is no longer there I am just the facilitator, part of the project.

A part of me opens up and becomes the receptor for information that is necessary for the project – this information is already archived – it is just a matter of pulling it out, sorting it out and applying it to the work in progress.

I:T, Hollywood and other media has programmed us, you could turn that the other way round and say that Hollywood, and Information technology (I:T:) has tried to copy the process already installed in us – so for instance the similarity between all it programs is because a good program tries to follow the natural process we all have inbuilt, instinctive is the word used.

So yes I do have an image in my mind, I do rotate it like a 3d cad drawing, see it from different perspectives turn it upside down shape pieces, fit them together and more – but its so fast that I cannot actually transfer it to a understood medium, it is purely automatic.

Is this something unique? of course not, everybody has it – it is just that I can hold it long enough to make something functional – I understand the tools and materials I have and so can mate the idea and the function. I can censor the information long enough for it to be used.

This is something that most people can do but they have never had the time or the drive or the equipment.


As a teacher I had classes in my workshop in the uk – it was more a time for me to enjoy the creativity of others than to make anything of it financially or perhaps even go anywhere with the project – was just 3 hours every Saturday morning.

It was a little unusual in that I insisted that everybody complete 2 items before they were let loose – the first was a spoon of a very specific shape – to learn the tools and the material, the second was to let loose the images gathered in the first attempt but still within the confines of a wooden spoon.

All my pupils had radically different approaches – every one of them was pure genius in their own way.


Claire owned a large old vikeridge hidden away in a small valley near Tiverton Devon.  Well over 60 before she began carving but incredibly artistic – Peter a very cosy well spoken farm labourer who had spent a deal of his life as a cow man – no sight in one eye from an accident – Ben a river warden near Exeter – had applied for the job along with some 600 others and much to his surprise had won out – occasional others who came and went – Claire was cack handed had difficulty with the mechanics of the tools – her finish was bad – but when she made something she had captured the essence – so for instance she insisted on making an elephant – when she had finished somehow the very essence of elephant had been captured in a badly finished carving –

Peter was also cack handed but received so much joy from his creations that good or bad did not matter –

Ben had a very strange process – he needed to be told exactly what to make – and he did exactly that but somehow the process made a perfect item – so for instance – make a box – “how should the box look?”  “rectangular – carved out from a solid block – lid has a recess for the base – again carved out from a solid block.”   “ok, how is the lid going to look?” – “it should come to a ridge in the centre.”

So the box was made conforming exactly to those requirements but  the same as Claires work – or Peters, an example of the same functions but approached from a different perspective.  Each one of my pupils had the same mental tools but were using them slightly differently – doubtless with a much longer training they would all reach perfection, hopefully with their own unique perspectives intact rather than my own.


For me making has saved my life.  It has been a meditation – a target for everything – waking and sleeping it has been there.

Without, like a partly inflated balloon – held in a hand and squeezed – the pressure of daily life would have pushed me in directions possibly self destructive.


We all long to be superheroes – hidden or overt – here I could be my own superhero – didnt matter what anybody said or thought, I could stand up and show people (and MYSELF) something utterly unique and different and whats more it came from nature – from “nothing.”

No factory producing raw materials.

Somehow so utterly empowering that all the nasty knocks that the world gives count for nothing.

When I am making I dont exist – the me is no longer there – all that matters is truth – if you lie then you are not a good maker because everything you make and every process you employ must be true, for a good product.

That does not mean that a good maker uses “traditional” methods.

It means he uses the best methods possible for that particular process – so for instance making glasses cases out of solid blocks of wood, it is entirely feasible to make them using carving tools.  But practical to use a form and a router – special tools for cutting hinge recesses and so forth – there has to be a satisfactory balance between production and the item.


Now as a maker with a reputation and every tool I could possibly want – it is almost as if the struggle is over – I know who and what I am and I like it.  The big question is where do I go from here?

I think I should try to pass on my joy of creating – try to learn from others as much as I can and leave a legacy that others – complete strangers – could take from and grow with.