Craftsman

My eyes wander to a beautiful vase on my bookcase made from a burl of a red cedar tree. It was spun on a lathe; its knotty shape smoothed and polished. The base is round with a half-inch step that gently indents inward and then swiftly flares out, again, with a small hooded lip. The full line of the vase curves and flares smoothly upward and outward displaying the full globe of the structure, indenting inward at the top to form the small neck of the vase, and then extending outward to form a round lip at the top, similar to the circular base of the vase. There are several deep dark circular knots that nature strategically placed within the wood, as well as natural lines and features only God could create. The craftsman lovingly sanded and smoothed all of these rough knotty features, creating something made by a simple man who masterfully chose to cut the wood to display the full force of age and beauty hidden in this old burl. I think of the man who carefully and tenderly shaped this beguiling piece of wood for hours, patiently splaying a block of wood on his lathe with his many sharp-edged tools, until it became this magical vessel. I imagine him first drawing out the dimensions, and making a crude sketch. Then, his skill and knowledge and artistry take over, as he gets lost in the joy of making something so beautiful. My father made this vase. As I gaze on this object, I know I can never part with it. I will always look on it in wonder and amazement, appreciating the tree that bore the burl, and the craftsman who spun the vase.


Author Notes

9 Comments for “Craftsman”

Doug Langille

says:

Craftsmanship is a particular bit of excellence that is becoming lost to us. One of my favourite blogs, The Art of Manliness, talks about it.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/07/03/measure-twice-cut-once-applying-the-ethos-of-the-craftsman-to-our-everyday-lives/

Great memory of your father.

says:

Thank you, Doug. I do respect my father and admire his work. Being a craftsman is somewhat of a dying breed. I have three brothers, and none of them followed in his footsteps of artistry. Nor did I, though, writing and music is my art. He is also a gunsmith and all his life people came to have him make their gun stocks. Intricate patterning and polished smooth wood. Along with the tinkering of mechanisms and bolt actions. As he got older he began making bowls and bells and carving blocks, etc…. on the lathe. Selling them at threshing shows and flea markets. This vase is one of his finest works, and I feel lucky to have it. 🙂 I will check out this website! Might be some articles I can copy off for my dad.

says:

So much pride and love here well done cheers

says:

Thank you, Craig. I do respect my father and admire his work. Being a craftsman is somewhat of a dying breed. I have three brothers, and none of them followed in his footsteps of artistry. Nor did I, though, writing and music is my art. He is also a gunsmith and all his life people came to have him make their gun stocks. Intricate patterning and polished smooth wood. Along with the tinkering of mechanisms and bolt actions. As he got older he began making bowls and bells and carving blocks, etc…. on the lathe. Selling them at threshing shows and flea markets. This vase is one of his finest works, and I feel lucky to have it. 🙂

Anisa Irwin

says:

Hey Rebecca,

Twisty little piece you spun here. It’s filled with description and you move through every curve and piece of this vase with precision.

“The full line of the vase curves and flares smoothly upward and outward displaying the full globe of the structure, indenting inward at the top to form the small neck of the vase, and then extending outward to form a round lip at the top, similar to the circular base of the vase.” – This sentence is a tad on the long side… weighing in at just over fifty words. It’s recommended to keep sentences under twenty-five words, shorter if possible. The average person tends to retain/understand twelve words the best, and the comprehension rate drops from that point forward.

There are several deep(,) dark circular knots that nature

I think of the man who carefully and tenderly shaped this beguiling piece of wood (for hours), – Adding ‘for hours’ seems a bit redundant. Also, I was about to ask how you knew it was a man that built it… then I read the end. Lol

Great memory, story and tribute all wrapped into one.

Anisa
~Keep the cycle going!
Review your fellow members~

says:

Thanks for the nits, Anisa. Believe it or not, I actually did cut that mammoth sentence down….lol It was even longer than it is now. It does still need some work. I really appreciate a keen eye on the edits needed. 🙂 It began as a free-write, and evolved into more of a prose piece. And, it still needs a bit of touching up.

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