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Gabriel Powell

There is something wonderfully inefficient in making functional objects by hand in a world of cheap production. I cannot imagine that there has been a time in history with such an availability of stuff. Why make a wooden spoon, (which, at first, takes days to make and then, after much practice, a couple hours), when I could buy a stainless-steel spoon which will outlive me and probably Western civilization?

I don’t think most interesting questions can be answered fully, but I do know that for me, there is an intuitive, resounding superiority to the well-made handcrafted object. I know that every process of soulless, mechanized production robs the maker and consumer of something very important. I know that whole, understandable materials whose origins are self-evident feel good and peaceful. I know that the cheapest stainless steel spoon or plastic chair costs us more than we see. I know that there is something wrong with chipping a ceramic mug and throwing it away without a thought. I know that the processes and skills associated with handcraft mean more than can be understood by time/cost equations, bottom lines, and profit margins. I know that while I work with my hands I am understanding more about my own body and its history in our culture.

For me, working with wood involves a conscious choice to live simply and to learn and preserve a life whose foundation is the work of our own hands. I wanted to experience the answer to a question raised by my dissatisfaction with the mindless consumption of Western culture.

Gabriel Powell

Cederberg May 2024