Sunday, May 9, 2010

Paul Woodruff - Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue

This is a book I just picked up at my library. Barry Lopez recommended it when he was on Bill Moyer's last show of his Journal.

Durning my apprenticeship, though the old craftsmen that taught me were not reverential in their lives as a whole, they always treated their craft, their tools and the craft process with reverence. Some examples:

When my first pair of work gloves wore out, I put them in a trash can. The 75 year old Shokunin/master craftsman, Fukuyan, who started with Shoji Hamada when he was 14, told me to get the gloves out of the trash can. Save them and put them in the fire the next time we make one. We offered up the gloves to fire, out of reverence for their service and work life.

Another time, I left my Korean Kick wheel spinning, to go do something else. Fukuyan, walking by, stopped the wheel. I didn't think much about it, until it happened again and Fukuyan said it wasn't good to leave the wheel spinning by itself. I didn't have the language to ask why, but I assumed it was out of respect for an important tool.

See Paul Woodruff - Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue at Google Books:

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