Here are the beginnings of another rocking chair.
Starting another project has brought to mind the one skill that comes into play in every project. That skill is the ability to see a project all the way through, with pleasure and a small amount of dignity.
From conception to completion, making something can be a wild ride. First, there's the excitement of making something new. I can see the finished piece in my mind, perfectly realized and fulfilling all of my goals. Then comes the first stages, often a honeymoon, where the parts are being made and the first hints that the maker is indeed human start creeping in.
On to the joinery, where excitement yields to focus, dogged determination and sometimes a hint of melancholy as the scope of the project finally starts hitting home. This is also the stage where I start saying things like, "I'll put that on the bottom", or "no one will ever see that".
Next it's on to assembly, where the object in front of me fully confronts the gilded image in my head, accompanied by the thought "it'll all come together better when it's finished". This is often where projects can stall out, bled of the momentum of starting and confronted with the reality of the labor yet undone. If left at this stage, the parts turn to stone.
Then it's a battle, mano a mano,"I will finish this thing and move on to something fun" (which is anything but this). This is where that time tested technique of "rushing" comes into play along with it's constant companion, "the stupid mistake". As I push across the finish line, the satisfaction of a project complete can be bittersweet. Soon, I begin to look forward to the promise of the next project and leaving all the small joys and ills of the experience embodied in this one.
Usually, after a period, the trials of making the object fade away, and the project takes it's rightful place in my esteem, as something that taught me a lot and in the end, looks pretty fine.
Having run through so many projects, I've come to focus on leveling out both the ups and downs of making things. Creating something should come with all of the emotions we can muster, it's a great mirror for the maker. But my goals as a maker and teacher are increasingly becoming about recognizing and enjoying each of the stages of seeing a project to completion.
To make something is to risk failure and exposure to the unknown, I'm beginning to think that not only is it inherent in the process, but it might just be the whole point.