My Two Bits

Bowling For Memories

There are few things as satisfying to me as making something with my own two hands. Sure, I helped create two beautiful daughters, but besides about an hours worth of exercise I didn’t have much to do with it… genes, dna and nature did the real work. Though not very talented in the artsy department (my stick figures and flowers won’t be on exhibit anywhere any time soon… ever) I have dabbled in a few things over the years.

Clay was an enjoyable medium, nice and squishy, but, again none of the ashtrays, little bowls or figurines (that all seem to look like blobby things more fitting for examples in the evolutionary chain) will ever be on display anywhere; and I definitely never had any experiences at the potters wheel a la the movie Ghost. In fact, I never had Unchained Melody playing in the background when I worked. Maybe that’s why. Well, discounting the fact I’m *not* Demi Moore…

I’ve designed and made the outfits my daughters wore when they competed at horse shows; took up basket weaving for a while, but, one can only have so many baskets sitting around; counted cross-stitch pieces are framed and hanging about the house, but, when I started having to wear glasses/contacts the cross-stitching fell by the wayside. Cooking is a bit creative, I suppose, but the end results don’t stay around long…. if I’m lucky. These days about the only thing I ‘make’ are web pages and php/sql driven forums.

Quite honestly, I don’t really have a ‘creative’ bone in my body. But recently, after reconnecting with old friends on Facebook and reminiscing about the past, I realised I did have something I had created that I’m quite proud of; the wood bowl I made in shop class in high school.

When faced with the prospect of early graduation, that meaning I wouldn’t be able to compete in Gymnastics, which wasn’t until the Spring Quarter, I proceeded to fill my schedule for Winter & Spring with every elective the school offered. Drafting, Co-ed PE, Drama, Home Economics, and Wood Shop. Yes, Wood Shop. I guess I was lucky not to have been born five years earlier, because before my sophmore year girls weren’t ‘allowed’ to take courses in ‘the manly arts’. Of course with Title IX and the Women’s Rights Movement many avenues opened for females, well males too because before then they weren’t allowed to take Home Ec. Fair’s fair, turn about, and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Despite the new opportunities female participation in the Wood Shop classes was low enough that there would only be two or three at most in the classes each Quarter.

The curriculum included safety practices, instruction on what woods were best for different projects, as well as ‘horror’ stories of who cut off a finger the previous year, or that the former instructor had worn a tie to class and got it caught in the big planer and ended up planing himself into pieces. Scare tactics, maybe, but it did make one act a bit more responsibly and safely around the equipment, even teenagers. Well, for the *most* part…..

The required cutting board, candlestick/spindle and whale wall hanging completed; and having learned the basics of glueing, cutting and sanding, useing band, jig, and scroll saws, and the lathe, we moved on to the ‘final exam’ project. A bowl. This project entailed combing through the inventory of wood in the back of the shop; looking for not too big pieces of various woods. Once the pieces were collected the glueing together began. Several layers and widths later, one ended up with a big square block of glued together wood. Then it was on to the lathe. I won’t go into detail, but, you eventually ended up with a big *round* block of wood. Which you then proceeded to hollow out the middle of, again, using the lathe. Sanding, polishing and flocking the bottom of the bowl completed the project. And hopefully an ‘A’ received for the finished product.

My bowl has survived the last thirty-four years despite many moves, children and a husband that just doesn’t understand his wife’s pack-rat tendencies. During the holidays it’s used to hold walnuts, almonds, and other nuts for cracking, and has become a tradition of sorts. The rest of the year it’s where pens, pencils and spare change accumulate. The bottom needs re-flocking and I’ll get around to it eventually… but, there’s this recipe I want to try….

bowl-0011 bowl-0041 bowl-0031

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