Sometimes as a woodworker I suffer from a kind of writer’s block for lack of a better term. I suppose it really should be called woodworker’s block, but I think writers have laid claim to the term that explains the condition of hanging over a page with a dozen halfhearted lines written on it and a pile of crumpled up paper laying around on the desk and floor knowing that there’s some inspiration buried inside you somewhere, and you’re trying desperately to coax it out, but you only see it in brief glimpses and shadows.

For me this condition becomes manifest in design features scribbled on scraps of paper or wood, searches through periodicals and the web, walks along the brook surrounding my workshop property looking at tree and root and other natural design forms, and eyeballing other things that catch my attention as I travel about.

The muse is distracted, off on some parallel quest just out of reach. I try to open the door by going into the shop with my design notes and break out some of the junk wood I keep around for just this type of thing. Every so often, this will bear fruit, but more often than not I end up making fancy firewood for our evening bonfire where I make my earnest sacrifice to acknowledge that the muse is not a tool of mine, but rather the other way around, and she will visit me in her own good time to unveil the way in which she intends to put me to work.

Fortunately, we seem to be on good terms and she ultimately does return and graces me with inspiration and ideas that push me over that rut and we’re on our way again!

Well, the last two weeks have been just that. There’s a mock up chair design sitting on my assembly table that’s in its 3rd or 4th iteration surrounded by a scrap pile of overworked parts that just didn’t quite fit the vision. We (the chair and I) got to the point where we weren’t really on speaking terms anymore, so I’ve stepped away to give it space. This has worked well for me in the past.

So, I pick something predictable and safe for the moment, maybe something I’ve built before, or (gasp!) something that needs to get done (egads! perish the thought!) But the essence is to give creativity some space.

I think a lot goes on behind the scenes of what we’re immediately conscious of, and the next thing you know, there it is! Inspiration! And we’re off again!

I hope you enjoy reading my blogs, and please feel free to leave comments if you’re so inspired.



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