I?ve just finished turning a piece of a mini-log of deador cedar that my
chiropractor gave me a few days ago - a remnant of a major pruning done
several years ago. The slice I cut had evidence of some tiny cracks but
I turned it anyway. The finished piece, a short fat cup, isn?t a
particularly elegant form and though the small cracks are still
noticable they don?t seem to threaten the future of the piece. I used
Mahoney?s Walnut Oil on the outside to pop the grain a little - but left
the inside bare wood - leaving the pleasant smell of cedar for the
curious. There?s nothing remarkable about the piece - visually.
But it?s the feel of the piece that got me. The bottom is concave and
while going through the sand paper grits - dry to 320 and then with oil
through 400, 800 and finally 1200 - then just oil on my fingers, the
piece turning at 1200 rpms, that this piece got interesting. From
bottom to top lip, the smooth, but not glass like, feel flows smoothly
from one surface to another, no beads or coves or grooves, nor sharp
eges - just a flowing smooth wood pleasant and interesting tactile
sensation, the feel of a tiny imperfection, mingled with the subtle
scent of cedar.
And I think I have an inkling of what the Japanese call wabi-sabi - the
beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
We spend so much time and effort making something with the perfect
proportions, perfect execution of technique, perfectly smooth and
finally a perfect finish. The end goal - a perfect piece - to LOOK at.
But in doing so we overlook the sense of touch, for after all, the eye
can only provide part of what the piece is. Yet handling a piece is
discouraged - fingerprints you know - and god forbid, it could be
And as I run my hand over the surfaces of this odd little piece of
deodor cedar I find that the little imperfections only emphasize the
smooth flowing feel of the surface around them. The subtle scent of
cedar adds to the experience of things ?just so?.
Look But Don't Touch! - and miss have the fun.
- posted 14 years ago