Handworks 2017 was a blur of faces, handshakes and hugs with people I haven’t seen in ages. It also was a chance to meet a new crop of hard-core woodworkers, people in their 20s who are determined and talented – it was unlike anything I’ve seen before at a woodworking show.
In the cacophony of questions, comments and criticism came an unfamiliar young voice that startled me.
“How is it that you see your anarchism as separating you from politics,” he said, “when what you do is so political?”
It’s the kind of question you expect in a 400-level PolySci class, not a barn. So I stopped and tried to answer the question. Note that I’m terrible in these situations (which is why I’d be a slip-and-fall lawyer at best). Eventually I said enough words that the questioner (mercifully) let me go.
The guy was Dan Clausen, who writes the Pequod Workshop blog and is a literature PhD candidate at the University of Nebraska. He’s a thoughtful guy I’ve been following for a while, and he is able to cut through a lot of the BS in hand-tool woodworking. Today the “Full Stop” quarterly republished one of his essays titled “The Anarchist in the Woodshop,” which you can read in full for free here.
It’s an essay about the things that we don’t say about our work here at Lost Art Press. It might alarm some and comfort others. But the bottom line is Dan is a pretty keen observer and got it right. Check it out.
— Christopher Schwarz