Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Turning Time - From Seed to the Mortar

Shielded by canvas from the late afternoon sun the wood turner worked. The pole of the lathe nodding to the beat of his steps and the steady rasp of steel on wood paused only for a fraction as the pole changed direction. Wood shavings scattered to the ground sheet as he worked and the slight breeze shifted those that fell to the rustic work bench. Compared to the rattle of industrial process this was subtle and skillful. The tools themselves looked as though they had been made from scratch or modified to suit his needs.

I cast my eye from the unworked wood to the final products sitting close by. I had little doubt that the wood had been sourced locally, the bowls, cups and a mortar had a glorious rustic charm and presence. My mind turned to the prospect of similar products in stores only a few miles away. Perfectly rounded, all identical in brightly coloured glaze or plastic. Formed, fueled and shipped by gas and oil. Here within reach was an object grown, felled, crafted and presented within a few miles from source to finish. I turned out my pocket to see if I could offer the crafter a good price, sadly the few coins I had on me would have left the crafter short changed for the worth of his work, but they may have bought me an imported product if I so desired. Perhaps next time I will be able to make an offer to suit my conscience.

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