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The now-time of the hands

Caroline Ross:

When we cannot touch, cannot be held, do not regularly make things with our hands, work so hard that we do not have time to press seeds into the ground in a garden, nor to sew the button back on our shirt, which is so cheaply made we throw it away rather than invest our precious finger-tip-time, which anyway we must keep sacred for our devices… We no longer settle into the never ending now-time of the hands. And thus, with a cold excision, we are severed from the real.

One of the requirements to move beyond the candidate stage in the AODA is to spend at least twenty hours learning a new creative practice. Woodworking is something that I’ve been considering off and on for a while, so this seemed as good a time as any to start.

I say I’ve been considering it off and on for a while–and the reason I haven’t started before now is the cost and noise and danger of so many electric woodworking machines. That’s why I’ve been attracted recently to more traditional woodworking with hand tools. That’s not to say I won’t be using machines, of course. Some machines perform their functions both safely and efficiently and it would seem masochistic to do without them. The balance of the work, though, I would like to do by hand.

My hope is that woodworking–particularly woodworking in a more patient, traditional way–will help me find the “now-time of the hands.” To occasionally move out of abstraction and into the real and tangible world.

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