Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rebellion Became an Embrace

For about 25 years I was a cabinet maker.   It’s a world of minute detail:  blueprints, trim, and tight spaces.  Add to that delicate finishes, matching color samples, and pristine installations in expensive homes.

Creating large scale abstract art was a way of taking a break from the fastidiousness of the trade.  Throwing, splashing, thrashing, and dripping fields of paint became a refuge from the demands of the industry. 

However, at the turn of the century circumstances led to a break from cabinet making, as I spent several seasons remodeling and finishing my parent’s home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  

About five years later, my bride’s career in higher education took us to the mountains of North Carolina. I found myself back in the field of high end interior woodworking.  

A custom Maple entry door.

After several years of carpentry and drywall, I found myself poorly suited to the demands of cabinet making.  I’d lost my edge….

It took a few years to sharpen up. Those times were marked with frustration and dissatisfaction and eventually with the real estate collapse of 2008 I was laid off.  I’ve kept my tools but haven’t returned to cabinet making.

Deb’s career has gone forward and the opportunity to pursue my art career is in full flight.  I make this preamble to say that I don’t have much to rebel against any more:  times are good.

As such, the thrashing and running paint techniques of my large scale abstract art had become more of a habit than a reality.  Interestingly, now that the requirements of the field are removed I have discovered that the skills and orientation of my woodworking experience persist.

They have filtered back into my creative life.  

After being away for five years the clean lines and processes re-emerge.  I am not back in the shop polishing fine hardwoods, but I am drafting, laying down clean edges, building structures and enjoying the technical facility that decades of shop experience has instilled in me.  Yay!

The contrary days have passed.  These are quieter thoughtful times.  The means have changed, and the ends necessarily so.  What was rebellion has become an embrace. 

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