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Woodworking blog entries tagged with 'mastery'

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It's not about the tool ...

04-04-2017 01:52 PM by Woodbutchery | 6 comments »

It’s about the practice. Saw a video this morning emphasizing this, someone doing very nice calligraphy with a crayon marker. It is an excellent reminder that craftsmanship is about something other than collecting the finest tools. I’ve been a musician, of one sort or another, for most of my life. While I occasionally get paid gigs, this is another hobby for me, and I’m driven to find ways of playing better, learning new tunes and songs, and then learning how to master...

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View Gary Rogowski's profile

Humility and Ignorance

06-02-2015 02:28 PM by Gary Rogowski | 14 comments »

One of the lessons that every woodworking teacher must learn is humility. Being more knowledgeable than a new student doesn’t mean that you’re smarter [that’s certain] or more skilled. It means simply that you’ve put in more time. You have made more mistakes and after repeating them enough times you do learn to avoid them. But then you forge on to make new ones. If you, as a teacher, forget that everyone starts from a place of ignorance then each question is irksome to you. Don’t forget. R...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #30: Quality

10-16-2014 02:49 PM by Gary Rogowski | 4 comments »

Dream all you like. Think about what it would be like to be skilled in a craft. But skill is gained only by work. Mastery comes after years of study, the rewards through discipline & sacrifice. Sigh. Quality work does not come through an afternoon’s study. It is the work of a lifetime. And why not? What great skilled worker learned their craft in a weekend? What musician became masterful in a few hours of study? It is this very process of learning your skill, of practicing you...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #28: Deadlines

09-29-2014 04:44 PM by Gary Rogowski | 2 comments »

Deadlines are critical to working. Without one I let jobs slide for days, months, years. I have no deadline to fix my house and therefore I get little done on it but basic maintenance. The big jobs I am still considering. So too with furniture projects. Without a deadline, most of us let the idea simmer on a back burner for a good long while. Our Mastery students have had this Thursday’s show date as their own deadline since beginning the program. Displayed this Thursday at the Studio from...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #27: Prodigies

09-25-2014 03:08 PM by Gary Rogowski | 3 comments »

Forget the 1 in a million prodigies. The rest of us strive every day just to be good. Forgive yourself your humanity & get on with your work. There’s so much to accomplish within ourselves in the process of building. This is the important work. As my old friend Bogy said to me years ago, “You don’t make the work. The work makes you.” The Northwest Woodworking Studio John Merrill, Resident Mastery Program, Graduate 2014

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A Strategy for Woodworking #24: Practice

09-08-2014 01:26 PM by Gary Rogowski | 2 comments »

Getting back to the bench is as much elixir as it is simple nourishment. I spend most of every day working in the shop. When I want to relax, where do you think I want to go? To the bench of course. To work with my hands. To make something. To talk to myself perhaps above all. No matter. It’s practice. Practice is what is needed to learn, to become proficient, to master. I worked next to a Japanese Living Treasure one year up at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado. He wa...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #8: Cobblers

07-14-2014 02:02 PM by Gary Rogowski | 6 comments »

This letter was sent to me by an old friend. Hi, Gary! May I give you a story, as promised? The story is told that if you were a young person in medieval France embarking on a spiritual quest, if you were fortunate you might meet up with someone older, perhaps a teacher, who would say this to youI think I understand what you are seeking. Let me give you the name of someone I know, a cobbler, in Dijon. I think that it might work out well if you were to become his apprentice. If that h...

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