Give a Little, Get a Lot
I have been a woodturner for a while now, and I find it to be the perfect marriage between art and craft. Planning, designing, turning, and finishing a wooden object are near-magical activities that allow me to use and expand my creativity.
In my work, I incorporate a lot of wood from fallen or trimmed trees, thus utilizing a natural resource to its fullest, and I use leftover lumber from cabinetmakers, helping to get the most from every board. But there is another aspect to woodturning that was unexpected and most welcome: wooden objects as a means of appreciation for the person who receives it.
Customers purchase some of the objects I make, and I find that to be a satisfying activity, but the reactions from individuals whenever I gift something to them always amaze me. I have given items to people who have just lost a family member, or to friends or family who are struggling, and to people who have accomplished something they didn't think they could do, and it changes the recipient every time.
Gifting a handmade wood object inspires and transforms both the person who receives it and the maker. For the recipient the gift becomes a commemorative treasure that pulls together all of their experiences and recognizes the effort they have put forth. It says "great job," or "look at all you accomplished," or simply "thank you." It shows appreciation of them and their efforts in a very concrete and visible manner.
The maker's experience is just as powerful. Gifting a handmade wooden object gives me the opportunity to be generous.
I feel that life has become more challenging in recent years. Many of us live far from family and friends. Others have had to endure illness or the loss of employment. Gifting something allows me to recognize this and say "You're not alone." I can extend comradeship and gentleness to others, which, given the hardness that contemporary life can have, is always welcome.
So here's my challenge to you: Seek out opportunities to be generous with your skills, tools, and wood. You'll transform someone's life and greatly enrich yours at the same time.