Primitive Joy

I’ve recently started in with a new hobby – woodcarving.  I went to some woodworking/carving shows this fall and was kind of inspired by what I saw.  Thanks to this area having a strong Scandinavian heritage, there are a large number of self-described “Norwegian termites” chipping and carving away at things that would have made their Viking forebears proud.

I’m still in the starter-kit stage, but amazingly I still have all my fingers and I find it to be somewhat absorbing.  It’s the kind of thing that draws you in, just you, the tools, and what you are working on……no power required, no downloads to be installed, just working with your hands at a task that humans have done since somebody fashioned something out of a fallen tree branch with a sharpened piece of flint.

Being drawn into concentration is a good antidote to our distracted way of living.  I tried my hand at making some things in a fully-equipped woodshop for a spell, but didn’t really enjoy it.  Most of the skill is involved in setting up the equipment to the correct measurements, actually running the material through is almost an afterthought.  Plus the various powered tools are loud, dusty, and just aching to take off a finger or your entire hand if you aren’t careful.

So I guess it is the simple, primitive aspect of carving I enjoy.  Who knows, maybe I’ll move on to cave-painting or making flint arrowheads!.  Seemed to work for the Neanderthals, so maybe there’s something to be said for it.


8 thoughts on “Primitive Joy

  1. Love it. For me, cooking kind of provides the equivalent, except that it’s quickly gone rather than lasting for eternity! Taking basic ingredients and assembling them all is very tactile and satisfying, for the reasons you mentioned.

  2. Carving, drawing (with a real pencil!), sewing (with a needle!), gardening, etc…we need relief and working with simple tools in your hands is freeing. I’ve even had assembly jobs that weren’t so bad. Hope you post some pictures of the results of your new hobby.

    • Hi Deb…will post some pics once I get a few more projects under my belt, hopefully they’ll be recognizable! “Freeing” is a good way to describe it – it narrows down your focus and frees you from your “monkey mind” as the Buddhists call it. Working on a dog carving next, will be thinking of you and your rescue efforts!

      • I love animal carvings. I’m hoping you choose a mutt for your model!

        We don’t really think about why, do we. People just do it because it makes them feel better. Your description helps pinpoint the subconscious reasons we like to do these things. The hardest part is starting something—and the best part is in the middle because you don’t want it to end!

  3. You gotta find what you love… and I’m glad you did. Wood carving sounds wonderfully creative and absorbing. But this could be just the beginnng. Before long you might be out with the jackhammer and a slab of carrara marble. Who knows what masterpieces lie within?

  4. I started my blog this way! To shut out the voices, to dig deep into my conscience, to wake up the Zarathustra in me. And it has been a beautiful journey…

    Good luck, the Fool. Did I tell ya: I love this name!

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