Introduction: They Showed Me What It Did to Mice

About: I made a beer mug with only a knife and a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.

Since I'm out of Netflix series, it's raining september showers outside and it's way too late to fire the forge, it sounds like a decent idea to share a few thoughts with all of you.

Not gonna lie about it, I just got inspired by the 'art skills' challenge and for some reason, I got completely carried away.

Initially, I thought woodworking was a bit underrated in the entries and so I wanted to make a statement for the love of the tools & true craftmanship, woodworking, world peace and clean water, but sometimes you only need one lobster to rip your canoe - Inuit saying.

I hope you make it to the end anyway. Enjoy the ride.

Step 1: They Said 'This Is Just the Start'

As most of you know by now, I've always been quite creative. I've drawn a lot in my younger years. Cute animals, landscapes, monsters, apocalyptic worlds, my classmates, and monsters eating my classmates in apocalyptic landscapes. For distraction, for science & for attention. Years later in university I liked making comics of our excursions.

Note that even tho I was nearly 20 years old, my drawing style had changed. While I tried to be accurate as a kid, I simplified things growing older. I loved it, that drawing, and I started to use it as a tool. And even as a weapon, also. The power of one image. Instead of a report I gave my sketchbook to my professors. They liked it, most of the time, even tho they shared in the good loving pun. Geographers are open minded people.

I guess just most of all they understood that my drawings reflected my observations. There were no smartphones in the nineties, you know. We carried walkmans, notebooks & compact film camera's - only 1.5 kilogram light, that was progress. I wasn't always listening to what the professors told us, but I was observing & sketching like a wildebeast. I was curious, and with the bricks of curiosity you're building a scientist.

Can't thank them enough for their open mindness, because they kept my love window for geography wide open.

Step 2: And Isn't Nature Wonderful

Meanwhile, from the moment I could handle a file - knives were too dangerous for the 6 year old bart - I've always been into woodworking, also, somehow. Since I wanted a crossbow for my 10th birthday - I didn't get it, I got a cool plastic playmobil police boat - I had to make one myself. First attempt, second, third, fourth was a good one. Handsaw, screwdriver & rasp. And rubber bands, also. Decent enough to blow the door of our garage into pieces. It wasn't accurate, but it worked. My father thought me quiet rasping my piece of oak firewood, but things escalated quite quickly when that blond kid went till the end of his ideas.

I guess I became a woodworker by accident. After crossbows came the cookie box banjos, the plywood boomerangs, the natural elbows, the flatbows, kuksa's, spoons & bowls etc. And that canoe, also. My totem animal's a woodpecker, I guess. Or a beaver, who knows.

After university I went into a variety of jobs, and one day I decided I wanted to live in a windmill. My life was a mess, and somehow I wanted to fit in the system. I wanted a car & a house and a letterbox with my name on it. I'm an impulsive person, people say. To get things short, I found & bought a windmill and spent 7 years of my life to restore it completely. Through that windmill I fell in love with ancient buildings, with ancient materials and ancient craftmanship & skills. That windmill took me a few of my best years, but it opened a portal to the past. I discovered the beauty & functionality of ancient craftmanship. Through that portal, I met craftsmen of the past through their material legacy. I saw how their struggled, found solutions and created things that could resist the years. The importance of maker's marks.

After the years I've been tempted by concrete, glass, pottery & metal. I'm lucky I've had the chance to taste a lot of plates on the table and I'm conscious they're still quite a few tables to go.

Always a student, never a master. There's always been that will to learn, to taste, to test but most important, to create.

Step 3: But Is This Art?

Creativity is a language. It's never about the objects on itself, it's never about the result. It's always about the road, about the moments lived while creating. About the healing, also, the connection, the awareness & understanding. It's about rising up. About transforming, getting better, more complete & closer to the core.

I never called it 'art', this work of mine. Call it 'functional artwork', if you like, since every object I'm making these days has functionality. Never a plan, always on gut feeling.

I'm not into definitions, books from boxes, deviding & labeling, but to me 'art' rhimes with spontaneity. Art can be raw, stylic, brutal & violent. Art can be a whole palet of pastel colours, of thousands of tiny dots per square centimeter, of photographic precision or just a fainth smell of bushfires thousands kilometers away.

Some artists want to be understood right now, some want you to make your way through time and maybe get it one day. Some just don't care at all.

The artist lived his best true moment while creating, once he let that leaf go it's not up to him anymore which path it will follow. Letting things go is key through creation. Once you sign the moment's gone. Turning pages. Walking over the ridge. Breathing freely again. Starting to walk again. Slick waters after the rapids.

There's no something as willing to be an artist. There's an artist in all of us. Some people create when they're totally broken down. Creation as a healing, creation as a medicine against self-destruction, sometimes. Some create when they're surfing the high waves and some create when they just wake up, writing, drawing or playing the chords and the tunes after that morning run, transforming that first ray of sunlight in a cake.

Others write while being stuck in a mountain cabin with mist all around, a wet dog on their knees, good company and bottles on the table. You can't invent that one, right?

You know, I started this instructable with the idea of sharing a few impressions on my latest kuksas I made, but when your intro is getting so long it'll absorb the rest of your story in a tail of dust you just have to let things go. Maybe that's art, anyway. The transmission of a free mind. The freedom to decide. Self-reflection and honest expression. Energy through senses. Wether it's your voice, your hands, your whole body or through the ideas you're spreading, it's about doing the right thing on that moment. It's your thing, and it's your moment.

Art doesn't need something in return. It's a one way ticket. It's not about the likes, it's not about acceptance, it's a pre-paid voice mail message, a sleeping satellite, and always a destination unknown.

Sometimes a lifeline, sometimes just a line in life.

Art Skills Challenge

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