When I’m in the flow time just disappears, it’s beautiful.
Working with wood is incredibly logically. So much it hurts sometimes. There’s basically these rules and if you follow each step with precision every joint, every glue up, every construction will work. But it’s the patience involved that usually leads people a foul. Like everything I have experienced, the challenge is often such a gift. In this case it offers the opportunity to slow down and enter the state I call ‘the flow’. A result of being forced to work carefully with precision in every process in all aspects of woodwork and furniture making.
I feel incredibly grateful to be able to do what I love - and I friggen’ love working with wood
blurred out and my mind transforms into something foreign in conscious thinking and a new language is opened, a new perception where through muscle memory my body reacts and each action is incredibly understood, and married with the thoughts and feelings that are created by going through the motions with each process and reacting in sync. It’s difficult to explain but I’m sure anyone who works a craft in this way can relate. I loose myself in it and am guided by it at the same time.
I often talk about being in ‘the flow’ at work. When I am not able to concentrate and be present for each movement, from normal work/life distractions I can find it incredibly challenging to complete simple tasks and often make mistakes. When I am able to be in a space where I am present and connected to each process I am working on I feel like I am in the flow, literally like I am in a large river or something and a am being gently guided along while I get to sit and relax, watch the beautiful trees and wildlife as I drift by. There is a quieting of the mind that happens in this space and I relate to the saying of ‘getting out of your own way’, because it’s seems that in this space the work just flows through me, effortlessly.
Trying to rush in woodwork will always lead to more work down the track or ruining projects all together. I have always thought of myself as a creative type of person and it’s this structure I find working with wood that seems to really draw me in and bring out the best of this aspect of my life. I thrive on structure, systems, evidence based procedure - if I do this, this will happen. Which woodworking caters for very well. The flip side though is that working with an organic material there is so much that is out of my control and again I am forced to work within the perimeters of each stick of timber I am using at the time - grain direction, natural defects like knots, splits, cupping etc. then throw in reactions to the natural environment - primarily moisture content - and its game on in calculating the most efficient (in time, energy and waste) and effective way to achieve the desired outcomes for the project I am working on.
It’s in this extreme focus that the gold is on offer. When I am forced to go slow and repeat monotonous process’s (most of my day- sanding is a big one) I am able to find the meditative space in my craft. It’s in the focused repetition of woodworking where I feel as if my eyes are
When I worked for ‘the man’ I was always a clock watcher. In fact I’m pretty sure I have always been a clock watcher since school days. Where the time always just seemed move so slowly and I was just hanging out for home time. Since opening my workshop and having the opportunity to work on the projects I was inspired by its like the opposite has happen with my clock watching. I still check it regularly (something about my love of systems makes me need to know the time all the...) though, now I’m always blown away at how much time has past and, often struggling to fit everything in. When I’m in the flow time just disappears, it’s beautiful. It’s just you and the movement in the stillness with an ornate knowing. Free from the created constructs and deep within this organic space. It has no reasoning in the why or how, but a grounding and connectedness with the here and now.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I’m super connected all the time and work in a state of meditation all day every day. I mean that would be
great and is really the goal, but there’s a whole bunch of life realities that get in the way - deadlines, punishing projects to pay the bills, sleepless nights with young children/babies. But it is important for me to stay connected to this side of my craft and remind myself that it is on offer when I am willing/able (still not sure if it’s one or the other or a bit of both) to surrender to that space.
Like everything I try to keep it simple, I feel incredibly grateful to be able to do what I love - and I friggen’ love working with wood. Some days that’s easy some days it’s harder then others, and that’s okay. I love it when I get into work in the morning and look up and realise the whole days already flown by and there is a beautiful something in my hands I have created. Being able to loose myself in my work is an absolute gift. My dad told me when I was younger that every body has to work, so you may as well do something you love. Thanks dad.