Announcement   Since watching my father work through a dusty haze surrounded by the screaming din of a saw, I've always understood wood as sacred. The grain, texture, color and heft of every piece just stops me in my tracks and at every stage of the crafting from opening the raw log to choosing the finishing polish. I do it all with my hands, mind and spirit. I hope you'll feel all that, too.

Announcement

Last updated on Apr 29, 2018

Since watching my father work through a dusty haze surrounded by the screaming din of a saw, I've always understood wood as sacred. The grain, texture, color and heft of every piece just stops me in my tracks and at every stage of the crafting from opening the raw log to choosing the finishing polish. I do it all with my hands, mind and spirit. I hope you'll feel all that, too.

garygunderson

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garygunderson

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See the wood, touch it and imagine what it wants to be. Turn it on the lathe and love it into reality.

I grew up amid sawdust, an engineer's son. My dad did all the cabinetry in our home, crafted in our tiny basement workshop so small he had to knock a hole in one wall to rip the longer pine. I work out of our garage in Old Salem where the Tannery once stood. I love to start with the newly fallen tree, such as this week when an apple tree fell nearby. It was a bowl within days, other precious pieces set aside to age into rings, bangles, bowls and goblets as they let me know what they want to be. Same with North Carolina cherry, red cedar, maple, or walnut. I always look for local wood when TC and I travel; hence the Osage Orange and Texas Ebony, Cottonwood and the entirely sacred Bristlecone Pine. I get the best part of all this as my fingers touch the grain when raw and smell the cut and carving along the way. But I do hope you feel all that, too. My day job is privileged to be among the healers of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and often with the noble public health heroes I've known since my work with Jimmy Carter and Bill Foege. I love the grain of that work, too and think of both wood turning and health as finding the beauty of the possible in the love the grain I can touch.

I'm a writer with a number of books and more blogs and articles than I care to think about. You can check my website (garygunderson.net). But I love the wood because it needs absolutely no words at all to speak clearly.

I often ask friends about a memory linked to a kind of wood. Anita thinks of the cedar chest of her mom's; Kevin has a pen of Bristlecone Pine after our epic Yosemite high hike; Kelly and Russ Cottonwood. I love turning the red cedar from Adam's farm and the maple I found discarded near the parking lot at Camp Carroway for Brian, the Osage Orange after driving across Kansas in the Spring to talk to the Methodists, the Walnut from the Blue Ridge, the Red Alder from beneath the Blauklippen cliffs in South Africa. The pens and bowls work well as object; but they are witness to the astonishing life before anything.

Let me know if you have a wood that is special to you. I may well have some of it waiting in my shop for it to become something useful and beautiful in your life.

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