December 20, 2009
This year the lead up to Christmas has been a busy one indeed. Various orders have been filled and several more are sitting in different stages of completion. All in all they are getting done and await pick up or delivery.
The machinations of poplar, cedar, and oak have taken a back seat at times when other things have popped up to stand in front me, banging a drum to get my attention. Some are enjoyable, some are pain in the ass.. but.. such is life. I have always been a fan of The Nutcracker and was shuffled off in that direction this evening by Hugh Bigney's performance as Drosselmeier, click the link for the full movie, its my favorite version. The opening scene encompasses the mindset that people who create things this time of year for peoples gifts find themselves in. Late into the night, completely engrossed in what you are doing, mind going light speed, several steps ahead of where you actually are. You find the sounds of your home, the tools, the radio and television all give way to and are drowned out by the running soundtrack in your mind. At times this soundtrack is your own voice and at others in consists of nothing more than music. The magic that surrounds you and grows from your soul in knowing that you are creating a three dimensional work that could be held by the people that are receiving it for longer than you will be around is quite an overwhelming thought. It's the magic that keeps you going when the hands of exhaustion are pulling you down into the abyss of sleep and loss of time becomes your greatest fear.
I decided early on that this year I would limit my "seasonally themed" work to nothing more than Santa ornaments. I initially wanted to limit the number of special orders as well, but when people call... you make what they want to the best of your abilities. The things you desire to make take a back seat and customer orders move to the front of the line.
When I got the order for the palm tree walking stick I found Jimmy Buffet running through my mind singing One Particular Harbor over and over as the knife sang through the hardened cedar (and a few fingers).
The poplar stick has the submarine warfare division emblem on it and took me through several hours of having various world war two novels and movies rambling around in my head as I carved. Alvin York never served on a sub.. but I constantly quoted the movie as I worked... "Come on Alvin.. Take a look at there big old woman..." was a scene that kept running through my head...
The wands I have made over the past few days and this one I just started have created visions running the course from The Lord of The Rings as Gandalf fought the Balrog to the final fight scene from Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix when Dumbledore takes on Voldemorte. Yes I know.. Gandalf didn't use a wand...
I am currently working on two swords that will be given away on Christmas day, pictured here at the beginning of the process.. When work is underway on weapons.. well.. there is no limit to the madness that runs around in your mind.. Scenes from various books, movies, songs, and visions from childhood all find their way into my mind.
With all the work piling up demanding untold hours I haven't really been able to find time to get the things that need to be done accomplished.. I still have to shop, get the car serviced, see to this and that, etc. etc... we all know how this is. Then you add the extra flavor of missing those that have gone on, particularly my dad. This was his favorite time of the year and again, as last year, we honored his request and thought of him as we turned on the Christmas tree lights, giving him a moment of silence and thought as the little tree we have blazed to life. Julie and I both smiled and laughed as James just kept piling the ornaments onto the tree well after we told him it had enough.. He is truly my fathers grandson and loves Christmas. I have a feeling he shall inherit my dads ability to make his home look like big lots during the holiday season.. He didn't care how old, big, broken or how many missing pieces there were with anything.. if it was in the box, it got put on the tree... Even all the Harry Potter figures are holding places of honor around the base of the tree, with about every stuffed animal he has ever owned.. He did all this with the same "shit eating" grin my dad always wore when he decorated for Christmas.. so even though we said to him, "That's enough stuff James.." over and over we simply let him go on with his work.. it was almost like being able to see my dad as a kid and it filled me with a warmth not felt in quite a while.
I'm looking forward to a late night shopping trip this week being capped off with a visit to Fuzziwigs to get everyone large amounts of chocolate to stuff stockings, and to having this wood carving soundtrack replaced with some Christmas specials and laughter from siblings and my kids (if I don't kill them first.. either group)... But then I know the wood carving will call me again later and I shall find my mind filled with sights and sounds of things I have seen and experienced as the power of creation makes me grin...