It was always a dream of mine to have a space to tinker. Some kind of empty warehouse floor filled with machines, art supplies, a couch and bookshelf full of books. Maybe a mini-ramp, too. It’s my ideal playground, both literally and figuratively. For a long time I didn’t really know much about how to make things; I was an art major in college, never took a shop class, fumbled through my share of “DIY” projects, but have always felt compelled to learn more and more over the years. Even as a child I had a curiosity about how things work, a need to puzzle it out, and a desire to bring my own ideas to life and work with my hands.
Thanks to a sudden career change into the construction industry and a few strokes of good luck, I learned quite a lot about woodworking and the built environment in a short span of time. Now I am lucky enough to have that space to tinker – many years after the daydream first popped into my head. In the Germantown neighborhood of Louisville, KY there is an old textile mill, the Hope Mill, which has seen reuse as studio space for artists, woodworkers, and other craftspeople. In the basement I have a humble strip of land, mostly messy, dusty, sometimes moldy, in which my ideal shop is beginning to take shape.
This blog is an exploration of the ideas which have been churning in my head the past few years, a little about the process of things I am working on, connections between art and craft, and a detailed look at the built environment, which fascinates me endlessly.
It was started somewhat as a reaction to other woodworking books and blogs I was reading which seemed to only talk about things in one of two ways: pedantically (somewhat man-splainy, really), or overly romantically – reducing hand tools and well-made crafts to a nod to “the way things were.”
Creating the blog was side-swiped briefly by finding other books and writers who already did talk about these things differently. Most notably David Pye in his wonderful book The Nature and Art of Workmanship, and in many of the books available from Lost Art Press, particularly Christopher Schwarz’s books The Anarchist’s Tool Chest and The Anarchist’s Design Book. Much of what I read in those books connected dots I was trying to connect in my own head. Still, I’d like to keep thinking through what interests me and hopefully add a few more dots to connect.
Lofty goals now stated, let the fun begin!