The Spice of Life

I just love to do and to learn new things. About 28 years ago I decided to give college another try, after working as a saddle maker and ranch caretaker. I had dropped out of school twice by then, mostly because I had no idea what I wanted to do.

My plan was to go to medical school, because I liked being an emergency medical technician in the Hondo Volunteer Fire Department on the old Santa Fe Trail in New Mexico. My plan was to spend a few years completing my premed requirements while majoring in Art. I did this, because I thought that I didn’t like science, but I knew that I loved leather work.

wide

Wide view of bookshelf. It is made of 1×12 oak boards. The low and wide piece has a 45 degree angle to accommodate another piece along the other wall.

As described elsewhere in this blog, some influential teachers at the University of Utah showed me that science was amazing and something that I could do. The real point of transition was when I realized how bored I would be as a medical doctor. Coupled with the need to churn out patients for billing, it seemed like pure drudgery. But when I thought about a career in science, it seemed like endless new things.

It has been a great choice. I love what I’m doing, and my recent move to a new job at the University of Georgia has really sparked my excitement and creative spirit. I’m learning completely new things and meeting some wonderful new friends and colleagues.

My curiosity and interest in new things extends into my work shop. There is no question that leather is the medium that fits my skill and personality the best. I’m not sure why or even what this means, but I do know that somehow you need to do the thing that fits you the best, whether it is science or leather work. I also like woodworking, though I’m a real hack at that. I love to look at beautiful handmade wood objects, but it has always seemed impossible to me.

tall

View of the tall portion of the bookshelf

During the years that we built a house and worked on a ranch in Santa Fe, I got handy with rough carpentry and basic woodworking. It was 100% practical and not always the nicest to look at. This skill has translated into an ability to make a decent bookshelf. I say “decent”, because if you look closely (you notice no closeup photos!), you’ll see a lot of “character”. But, every bookshelf that we’ve ever tried to find in a store is a piece of junk.

saw

Like every good project, you need a new tool!

This weekend, I finally made the first 2 (out of 3) bookshelves for the sunroom in our new house in Athens. We’ve had several boxes of books packed and taking up space for over 6 months now, so it feels nice to get this started. Now if I can just find another open weekend to finish them!

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