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.