Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


Crafting Cures Cynicism

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

In this Etsy age, "handmade" and "crafted" are terms we easily take for granted, I think. At least, I have. Now, whenever I hear both terms, my cynical mind almost always whispers conspiratorially, "You know that's just a marketing gimmick, right?"

Yes, it could have been made with hours of painstaking care, but after being inundated with the seemingly monotonous marketing spiel, one does start to wonder, "Am I being duped into paying too much?"

Well, after a day at Knowhow Shop, I might have been partially cured of such cynicism. Two weekends ago, I spent a long day in the Highland Park woodworking workshop to make some wooden spoons.

Does it look like I'm going into a disaster zone? I hope my soon-to-be made spoon wasn't going to be that, a disaster.

Somehow, in the midst of the seven hours I spent mostly sanding and refining my wood plank into a sensuous spoon, I recovered my sense of wonder at the handiwork of a single creative craftsperson and I picked up a few things along the way.

I learned that it is hard work to coax a smooth, even curve out of wood. Machines can only go so far, only hand sanding can really smooth the small, rough edges off.

Be careful not to cut your fingers off. First try at the power saw. 
Kagan at the belt sander.
Hand sanding even if our body complains! Photo by: Meena Natarajan.
I learned that not everything beautiful is planned. I planned as much of my cuts as possible, but I couldn't avoid my mistakes. It was part of the process and, surprisingly, it was part of the beauty of my final spoon. Though my spoon (and pie cutter) weren't perfect, I knew by the little cuts in the corner that they were mine.

Finally, I learned that sometimes it's not how fast you get there, but how fun it was to do so. I went with my husband and four friends to the class. After long hours on our feet, our clothes and hair were orange with saw dust, our body ached and our hands were tired, but that's one adventure we wouldn't forget. It's better than dancing in some overpriced club anytime.

Dust all over me. Photo by Meena Natarajan.

Knowhow Shop will be hosting more workshops in 2013. Check out their Tumblr for updates!


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