Preparations

The Baillie Players' Christmas '09 tour traveled with a set of four (two shown) traditional backdrops held up by five eight-foot self-supporting stands. (Click image to up-rez.)

The Baillie Players’ Christmas ’09 tour traveled with a set of four (two shown) traditional backdrops held up by five eight-foot self-supporting stands. (Click image to up-rez.)

The woodworking shop that I outfitted in Columbia (100 miles away) and later relocated to Inman (25 miles away) rebukes me. Month after month, year after year, dust and rust gathering on its formerly pristine work surfaces, it stands as a monument to under-tapped potential.

Not under-tapped income potential, though. That was never the plan. In fact, except for one small commission to build a set of backdrop stands in 2009 for the man whose repurposed gymnasium my equipment now inhabits, it hasn’t earned me a dime.

No, it’s the wasted creative potential that bothers me. All those electric motors and tungsten teeth. What might they have accomplished? What might they accomplish still?

When we lived on the same parcel of land, the lathe, the biscuit joiner, the planer and I were inseparable. The hours we spent with the table saw and the band saw, the drill press and the Bosch dual compound miter slide saw (sigh) were golden. We delighted in the jigs and forstner bits, in the sandpaper filed horizontally in ascending order of grit.

And we were productive. Shelves aplenty. Lamp bases and storage units. Replacement parts for the Depression-era bungalow. Nothing overly ambitious or complicated, but enough pieces of practical value and modest beauty that a few have survived to tell the tale.

Now I’m outfitting a video studio (Why does that sound to me like, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war …”?) and wondering if comparisons are in order. Another expensive and very open-ended creative pursuit? Check. But one that’s noiseless and not 25 miles away. And maybe one that’s more suited to my urban lifestyle than woodworking ever was, even when I had a yard and a detatched garage.

Also, and I’m hesitant to mention this because I do believe that money is at least the fertilizer if not the root of all evil, maybe one that will pay for itself. That is the plan this time.