Elegant Solutions from a Woodworker

I have come to believe, over the years, there is an elegant solution to most problems.  It just doesn’t always present itself when I would like. Cabinet making, like a lot of crafts, is largely a matter of solving problems.  Coming up with solutions to issues that present themselves with in the process of design, production, and implementation of my work. It is natural to be impatient about wanting a solution right away.  Often, in dealings with people I am working with, I am expected to know the answers to the problems related to my craft. Sometimes I can draw on experience, or offer up some advice based on past situations.  But sometimes the answer is just not conveniently available. Now a days, I tend to trust that there is an answer out there somewhere, an elegant solution, and if I am patient, maybe, just let it rest a bit, or forget about it a while, It will, appear.  Sometimes the solution comes from my customers. We can be bouncing ideas off each other and they may see something I can’t. I like that. It reminds me I can get stuck in my ways of looking at things. Sometimes the answer does not present itself and I have to proceed with the work.  I have been in this situation many times. When I know there is a better way to proceed, but I have to press on. Elegant solutions do not always present themselves. They are like deer in the woods. You see them and enjoy the sight, but you can’t, short of going to a zoo, demand a deer appear at will.  You can, however, put yourself in the position to enhance the chances. Elegant solutions are like that. You can’t always bring one up at will, but if you put yourself in a mindset of availability, and if you have a little faith that the universe want’s the elegant solution as much as you do, than the chances improve.  I have gone around problems and solutions enough that I know an elegant solution when I see one. That is what makes it an elegant solution. It solves the problem gracefully, not forcefully, or expensively, or exhaustingly. It pulls elements together and, when implemented, makes the work look seamless, or intentional, or invisible.  Often problems that stump me, and force me to take my contemplations to a higher level, end up resulting in a surprisingly nice feature of the work. I love the creative process. I love it when I have to struggle, and wait, and walk away, and turn it over, and in a timely manner the perfect solution presents itself. Those are the times when I believe there are mentors in the atmosphere.  Guides and teachers that want a beautiful thing to come about. Even if the beautiful thing is a crafty solution to a problem that no one will ever notice. The natural world is nothing if it is not a testimony to the elegant solution. So I choose to see it as a natural process of craftsmanship to trust in the availability of answers that are not constricted to the boundaries of my experiences.       

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