June 27, 2005

Playing Catch Up

It has been a while since I posted an entry to this blog. I have been so busy! It took a while for me to get physically up to speed. After the knee surgery, it took a few weeks to even get back on the lathe, and then a month of going at half speed, trying to spread the effort so that I could handle it. Even then I was literally trembling in my muscles at the end of the day.

That was April. By May, I was able to make a shade in pretty much the same amount of time that I could before surgery, but it still was exhausting beyond what I was used to. Finally this month I got over that hump and feel really energized. Looking back on the experience, I guess it is not that surprising that there is a price to be paid for sitting around for three months with no regular exercise. And being 52 years old, I didn't bounce back as quickly as I might have a few years ago. Still it was frustrating.

There was compensation for that frustration: the shades I ahve been making since my surgery have been wonderful, with all sorts of streaks and colors. Even that has had a downside, since the really streaky logs are the result of longer aging, and the older logs sometimes have developed defects that are problematic. In the last three months, I have had 5 or 6 logs that turned out to be unworkable. Usually I dont' find that out until I have several hours of labor invested in the project. Then a soft spot in the wood, or a separation in the grain fibers, makes itself known, and that is the end of it. In all the years I have made shades, this sort of problem has cropped up maybe 2 or 3 times a year. To have 6 in a couple of months is hard to take.

So now I am really geared up to work as much as I possibly can. I have a great selection of shades right now, but relative to where I need to be in June, to be properly prepared for the busy summer and fall, I wish I had a larger inventory. So I am a slave to my lathe these days. A very voluntary slave, since I still and totally love my work. And having had to stay away from woodturning for the winter, I am all the more appreciative for the opportunity and ability to do what I do.

Given how hard I am working right now, I do feel sure that I can catch up and be ready for the upcoming events, and that when you next see my work, you will see what I mean about the beautiful wood I have been working with. The next event for me is a week of demonstrating at the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, beginning July 11. If you have never been there, it is an amazing place in far far northern New Hampshire. Then comes the big Annual Craft Fair of the League of NH Craftsmen (everyone refers to it as "Sunapee") which begins on August 6 and runs for 9 days. Maybe I will see you there. If I do, please do mention that you have read this blog, I am curious to know if you find it worthwhile.