If you had told me five years ago that I would ever be woodturning pieces that I was sufficiently proud of to show my friends and family, I would have laughed. “I am rubbish at making things,” would have been my response, or something to that effect. So, to have been told that I would one day be selling my handcrafted work, would have seemed impossible. I always told myself that the logical conclusion of my not being very good at drawing (I’m still not) and being pretty bad at art in school, was that I was not artistic or good with practical tasks. I was not someone who made things. I was a thinker who could only express themselves with words and was creative only in the sense that I could come up with ideas but as soon as I tried to practically translate them into anything beautiful, I would be disappointed. I self-labelled based on my very little experience of craft and was so focused on the outcome with no regard for how I felt about the process.
“I can tell when I’m out of alignment because I become focused on outside goals and objectives as opposed to the joy of life.” Gabrielle Bernstein. Super Attractor.
This problematic, and all to celebrated, outcome-orientation infiltrated many major life decisions. I believed that if I worked hard at school, got good exam results and went to a top university, this would automatically result in happiness - that my purpose would magically appear and fall into place in adulthood. Well, that didn’t quite happen for me. While I have loved many of the experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have in my academic and working life so far, and wouldn’t change them, I feel I was so busy reaching to achieve the next external accomplishment that I never really stopped to fully examine what I wanted from life. Hence, my not even realising that creativity was a hugely important facet of my character that I needed room to express! I would throw myself into whatever experience I was currently in and morph myself to whatever was needed for that situation.
Two years ago, I embarked on a masters degree in Psychology with the intention of diving straight into a doctorate afterwards. I went from teaching full time, which (as any teachers will relate to) often involved spending much of my own time planning and marking, to suddenly being a student again. With that, came fairly limited course contact time and spending a lot of time writing essays at home alone (well, with Winston the rabbit for company). I basically got a slight head start on the working from home situation that many will have experienced in the past year! This slower pace of life, freed me to think and look inwards which led to the, extremely frightening, realisation that I had very little idea what I truly wanted from my life. Years of reaching for what I thought should be my goals, pushing for the next logical step had given way to what now felt like a desperate grapple for what my purpose should be. I was ambitious and had all this energy inside of me, but no longer felt like I knew where to direct this. I was enjoying the masters because I love learning about the human mind, but as far as the prospect of heading straight for an intense doctorate, I no longer felt sure that this was my next step. While this wake-up was necessary and a much-needed pivot in my life, at the time it was scary and led me to a low place. I was frustrated and disappointed in myself. Why couldn’t I just settle and ignore this niggling feeling that something was missing?
“To all appearances he was just drifting. In actuality he was just drifting. Drifting is what one does when looking at lateral truth.” Robert M Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
It was then that my ever-insightful boyfriend told me that he thought I was a ‘frustrated artist’. He suggested I needed a creative outlet which I could immerse myself in and so began this wonderful journey. A few years prior to this, when I first visited his family home, he had helped me to turn a candlestick. I’ll be honest, I had never even heard of woodturning until this point! It was fun and I was rather proud of the candlestick I had made on my first attempt however it certainly didn’t occur to me to take this up as a hobby from that point on. Firstly, this – craft - was somebody else’s realm within which I did not belong and secondly, I was still so busy following the path I thought I should follow at that point, that I hadn’t reached the point of realising I needed to let my creativity run free. Yet, I never quite forgot the feeling I had that day, the immersion in the task and the pride of what I had made (albeit with a lot of help). So, when I did reach the point that I needed craft as an outlet, the world of woodturning opened up to me like an old friend welcoming me home. I know that sounds strange but as soon as I started using my first mini-lathe (the old faithful I still use for many products), something felt ‘right’. I actually didn’t care that I wasn’t instantly good at turning and that what I was creating, the outcome, was less than ideal. I absolutely loved the process! Without the fixation on the perfect outcome, I gave myself the space to develop my skill at my own pace, trying out different designs and techniques simply because I wanted to not because I felt that I 'should'. I think that has made me a better woodturner than I would have been had I been obsessing on, and trying to force, the outcome.
For a while, woodturning was just a delightful hobby and a relief from the stresses of modern life; but now I have decided to take the plunge with this exciting venture and combine running this business with my other work commitments. This next step became clearer to me throughout the pandemic, when woodturning became a really important ally to my wellbeing, and with the support of family, friends and work colleagues who have been so encouraging. I have absolutely loved the process so far and have so many plans for how I want to develop Wrought To You in the future. So, here I am with this website and it means the world to share with you the work which I feel has changed my life so beautifully. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support!
Sending love to you all,
Share this post
- 0 comments
- Tags: artisan, craft, flow, handmade, mental health, small business, wellbeing, wellness, woodturning