(I originally posted a longer version of this on my old Wordpress site around Christmas 2012)
This was one of the most labor intensive, ambitious projects I've undertaken. I continue to learn through mistakes and see the value in failure. I heard someone talking about something called “failure value” the other day and it appeals to me in light of all the things that go wrong in life. Its ok to mess up as long as I gain something from it and grow through careful reflection. I like to impress upon my students the importance of learning through mistakes and seeing the value in not getting and answer “right.” I prefer they see how they got where they are and that there was value in reaching the apparent dead end. I found myself at many apparent dead ends this go ’round. Holes where there shouldn’t be holes, split boards where no splits were welcome. All valuable lessons I’ll carry with me into the next project.
I think like lots of folks, I like to have plenty of control over things and outcomes. Woodworking is a good exercise in realizing how little I control in the grand scheme. Things move, swell, crack, don’t fit together, I bloody my knuckles and hit my head on things, inhale too much dust and smash my fingers in the cold (a terrible delayed pain sensation). I’m sure my experience is not unique, I mean that of frustration and occasional futility. The constant tug of entropy on our lives. But what we gain by putting energy back into the system and fighting against it. There is value in failure, satisfaction in completion.
J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.