we have a tremendous impact on our world when we re-culture an ethos of taking care of what we have.
late winter here is on the verge, before mad spring energy bursts forth. it’s a fine time to potter about tending to things not urgent yet important. just the moment to get around to restoring the wooden spoons.
having rummaged for a coarse grit and a fine sandpaper i set about smoothing the fluffy grain. hand-washing our spoons, as our eldest observed, has felt like sea-slimy driftwood on the beaches. this sloughed off, i turn to the fine grit.
what a primal thing it is to work with wood. my finnish grandfather restored pianos and built my guitar, methodically, precisely. in this handwork i recognise his contentment. i can feel the work of the carver, comprehend the structure. i’ve not yet whittled a decent spoon, but polishing one is a lesson.
a sand, a wash, a thorough dry at the wood stove, then wood butter: 3 parts coconut or olive oil to 1 part beeswax, melted, cooled, rubbed in. how transformative, for something so simple. the sheen.
i itch to pay every belonging such attention. taking care of things is a pleasure in itself.
may it reverberate out into a world in great need of restoration.
oil + wax = so many solutions. balms, salves, polishes, waxed fabrics, all from a simple pattern we can adjust for ourselves. i like how pattern offers a language, a pattern language* of solutions. we don’t have to learn every solution, but we can learn a principle that will serve us as we face new and changing contexts.
where do you find inspiration for taking care of things? i return again and again to david holmgren’s @retrosuburbiaofficial, a tome of a permaculture guide, which itself draws on the beloved book, ‘a pattern language’. for practical tips on mending and tending i often look to the encyclopaedic @bookhou and @nancy.birtwhistle and when i want to dream about taking up woodwork in earnest, @hetzronio provides. my father can fix just about anything, we troubleshoot the dripping tap, diagnose the stuck door, maintain the bicycles.
this minute film is a variation on a snippet from ‘oil + wax’ in the journal of small work*. i’m excited to be returning from a good visit with dear friends and family in my childhood home, not so far from the farm by boat and train, and to turn my attention to editing several new films.
i’m also very pleased to have a new permaculture gardening mentor and to share his wisdom with you as i get things done in my own garden. it feels like winter here may be yielding soon.