Posted in Reverance

The Spiritual Practice of Craft

2020 pretty much sucked for all of us. Any other year, I might have more openly talked about two really significant milestones for me—July 2020 was the 25th anniversary of my HIV diagnosis, and January 2, 2021, was the 30th anniversary of my sobriety date—but everything has felt so raw and overwhelming.

As I’ve been reflecting on my 30th anniversary of sobriety, I am soul-deep aware that neither of these anniversaries would have been possible without the loving care that I’ve received from the communities that hold me. My relationships have saved me—my relationship with myself and my relationships with chosen family. 

One of the things that has gotten me through, particularly during the pandemic, has been being able to make things for people I love and care for as a form of prayer and a form of connection at a time when connection is extra hard to maintain. My shop has offered me a refuge and has also allowed me to offer refuge in the form of free shop space to a few other artisans who lost access to a shop due to the pandemic.

My shop came to be and continues to be supported through community. For my 50th birthday, Alex secretly crowdfunded the money for the big tools I needed, and a year and a half ago he helped me launch a Patreon community to help with my shop rent. I am soul-deep grateful for all those who have made my shop possible. It’s a constant reminder of to whom I belong, and that I deeply love and am loved in community. 

Lately I’ve been making bandsaw boxes. These are made by cutting into a solid piece of wood with a bandsaw, rather than assembling various pieces. I was drawn to them because they are beautiful and the variations are endless, and I love making them because the process feels far more intuitive than technical. A square box requires planned precision, but making a bandsaw box is far more about being present in the moment.

Here are pictures of my first five bandsaw boxes:

The clock box is made from ash given to me by my brother from his yard, as well as walnut and Baltic birch plywood. The round box with a divided inside is made from cherry and birch. The round box with a checkerboard lid is made from walnut, maple, and birch. The striped rectangular box is made from laminated paduk, walnut, maple, and Baltic birch plywood. And the oval box is made from ambrosia maple (the streaks in the wood are made by the ambrosia beetle), walnut, and Baltic birch plywood.

If you’d like to be part of my spiritual practice of making things, I would be delighted to include you and send you something beautiful once a year. You can find out more here.

Author:

Queer Blue Collar boy, Yogi, Buddhist, Black Belt who loves to teach kids & make stuff. A life guided by compassion and service is the reason I show up.

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