The evolution of my professional life grew from three threads, carefully woven through years into a consistent body of work.
The first of these threads was given to me as a young man when an elder craftsman, guiding me through the restoration of an old car, told me that my “brains are in my hands.” I spent the next 25 years as a furniture craftsman exploring that notion, proving it to myself, and arriving at the conclusion that what is true for me is also true for most others as well. I’ve spent the last 15 years helping others to understand the power of the hands to reshape their own lives. There should be no surprises in this. The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaxagoras noted centuries ago that “man is the wisest of all animals because he has hands.”
The second thread was the realization that the woods that come from our great forests are too rarely understood in their great beauty and diversity. The fate of our species and planet remain linked to the fate of our forests. One of the most meaningful tasks for any woodworker is to awaken others to the beauty that surrounds us. To craft something lovely and useful from our native woods invites and inspires others to discover the value of our native woods and to take care of the forests from which they come.
The third thread was knowing that we have a responsibility to teach each other what we know. Doing is one thing, sharing it another. Sharing my skills with others accelerates my own learning and furthers the appreciation of nature’s beauty and the craft of woodworking. Plus, it is a joy to do.
These threads are woven into my body of work: boxes, furniture, articles, books, classes for children and adults, and my daily blog, Wisdom of the Hands, where I promote the ideals of hands-on learning and stewardship of the forests.