Friday, May 22, 2015

In Portsmouth with Gerry Ward and Portland with Tim Manney

Sometimes you just gotta get away to clear your head and my drive down to New Hampshire and back yesterday was a much needed time of silent contemplation. I had a total of about 8 hours to think through all of the various jobs and responsibilities in my life presently. I’m so glad I had it.

Yesterday morning, I arrived in Portsmouth to meet with Gerald W. R. Ward, one of the nation’s most erudite decorative arts curators. Gerry and I got coffee and talked for a couple hours about furniture, museum culture, historic research, etc. Gerry is not only knowledgeable, but he is generous to share his knowledge. To be perfectly honest, each time I do an interview I‘m nervous about keeping the conversation alive and open. Any journalist will tell you there is an art to interviewing… one that I’m only learning. Fortunately, Gerry (and all the other interviewees so far) were the easy ones to interview. He’s not just part of academia so that he needs only to communicate with other academics. Because he loves the public educational aspect of his museum work, Gerry is an experienced communicator of ideas.

The interview was great and I’m looking forward to you all reading it. I really do think this is a part of furniture more woodworkers would benefit to be familiar with and I hope this is the gateway drug that leads them down the dark path toward scholarly literature.

On my way back up I stopped at the shop of the ingenious Tim Manney in Portland, ME. Tim and I have had contact only through digital means until yesterday and I’m so glad I was able to stop this time. Tim’s singular vision to make high quality precision reamers and adzes is admirable. I always have been awed by his workmanship so I am especially excited about a new adze prototype he showed me. But I’ll let him be the one to reveal the details on that. Stay tuned for that one! Some woodworkers can be a bit asocial and isolationist. Not Manney. Tim is a true gentleman. We had a great time chatting and I look forward to the future path-crossing or collaboration we may be able to do.


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