I cannot speak for the mental and physical health of these mentors of mine.
However, i can speak of their spiritual health
with regards to their working with wood
and how their focus with wood
has inspired me.
Experience can lead to wisdom
if nurtured with due focus and attention.
has its roots in the past…
has its roots in the present
drawing energy from the humus of the past.
This wisdom is the fertility of the future.
It is the essence of craft.
It is safe to say
that an elder has had the most experience
along both the beaten and less traveled paths.
of traditional wood joinery
is a path that needs constant travel
or the path becomes difficult to follow.
It is these people honored here
that have kept the path accessible.
For that I dedicate this bit of cyberspace
in the hopes of inspiring others to walk this path
of working with ones hands and teaching others.
Thank you for teaching and encouraging me.
Higgs was my introduction to timber framing as my instructor at the College of the Rockies, Timber Frame Production program. He was first a carpenter, then a log builder taught by Alan Mackie back in the stone age. He evolved towards timber framing sometime in the bronze age. My dates might be a bit off but he’s been at it a while and I have yet to meet anyone who knows more about every tool and also owns at least two of every tool. He arrived at the college with his loader and sawmill on a flatbed and his truck (with extra springs) hauling a trailer with 6 or 7 Greenlee tool boxes, one of which had 7 or 8 chainsaws. He has also invented his own tool for morticing into round logs, the Higgy-digger. I was fortunate to have him as my first intstructor.
He was to be found with the esteemed Macdonald and Lawrence team on Vancouver Island. http://macdonaldandlawrence.ca/
He is now instructor at the timber frame and log building program at the Northwest Community College in, where else, north-west British Columbia
I first met Mike at my first Guild conference. He was teaching a workshop on the Japanese hand plane with James Weister. After hearing Mike talk a while I could tell he was present during the sixties in California. One of the survivors, he has taken his mind blowing experiences to the next level with his woodwork. It would make sense that he has evolved towards the Japanese style and discipline for his attention to detail and commitment to perfection are second to none. I had the honor of learning from him again at the Bainbridge island Japanese memorial project, and from the Guild conference at Monterey where we built a ‘machiai’ with 3 daiku masters from Japan. Here he created the hidden joint used for the corner of the tatami mat. Here are pictures of the test/sample joint.
Check out Mikes work on his beautiful website: http://www.woodenheart.us/
I first learned of Jay Van Arsdale when I bought his Shoji book. The thought of a western person doing Shoji blew me away and inspired me. “White people can do this!” “Right On!” When I found out he was speaking at the Timber Framers Guild conference at Asilomar I jumped at the opportunity to record him. The podcast of his lecture should be on the main page of my blog. It is well worth downloading and listening to. I get something from it ever time I listen to it. “Japanese work ethic is about focus, patience and repetition, this is why they are so good at what they do.” Jay’s website is http://www.daikudojo.org. He teaches in Oakland, California.