…trying to make something as beautiful and individual as you are.
Dressing the tree
This past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time at the lathe, getting ready for the festive season. Sadly I was one of many people to be caught by a flu bug which seems to be doing the rounds, and as such lost a whole week of production. I love fresh air, but when your workshop is as cold as mine, you just have to wait till you’re well.
Now most of what I usually turn are one-offs. Mostly things I make are in low demand, so one offs are suitable, and I like to experiment with different forms and techniques to help me learn and create a diverse body of work. The main reason though, is that making matching sets of anything is just hard.
The beauty of turning is in the curved shapes. Shapes formed using the right tool, presented at the right angle and moved through the work with the correct movement of your whole body.
It’s not like making something that’s mostly square like maybe a box or table where the faces are generally flat, and the edges straight. With turned things, you can constrain proportions in terms of length of different sections, and the diameters of each section.
The beauty of turning is in the curved shapes. Shapes formed using the right tool, presented at the right angle and moved through the work with the correct movement of your whole body. I play guitar occasionally, and I like to think I have an understanding of muscle memory, but that’s a lot to replicate to get two curves exactly the same.
Thankfully though, part of the joy of buying something hand made is that yours isn’t the same as the next persons. In making Christmas tree decorations this has been at the front of my mind, trying to make something as beautiful and individual as you are.
Also on my mind had been all the beautiful old decorations we used to hang on our tree when I was a child. My parents still use them even now, and they are a part of Christmas for me. One that stands out is a small wooden sleigh complete with Santa, all beautifully painted like an old wooden toy. I wonder now about who made it, where they are now, and if they thought about the joy their crafts would provide when they were working?
They are individual and must have been around now for twenty years or more, being packed away each year in an old cardboard box that lives in the loft. In making my decorations I hope I’m making something in the same vein. Something interesting and individual that will become a part of someone’s Christmas for years to come. And maybe one day it’ll stand as one of the small triggers that snaps a grown up back to childhood, with the warm glow of the Christmas tree and times spent with family, fighting over tv channels or the last sausage roll.