Skip to content


by on 5 Jun 2011

First, some housekeeping. We have finally broken the video barrier, and the promised video clip is now up and running in the Back to Work post from a couple of days ago. Look for more video in posts to come. Please also check out the group photo at the end of yesterday’s Phase Change post. Click on that (or any other) picture to bring up a higher resolution photograph.

Posting to this blog has been a bit irregular over the past week, for which we apologize. Look for a new post each day, arriving by some time in the evening, US east coast time. Today we also feature a second post, a guest piece from our friend Leon Buckwalter, immediately following this one.

HANDOFF. Today was a day of transition. Our first Handshouse crew of sixteen students and instructors is still with us and last night seventeen new arrivals joined their ranks. So once again the order of the first day on the job was instruction in safety and in the basics of using axe and saw (and now, increasingly also layout tools, plus  mallet and chisel).

But once the new guys settled down to work in the field, something new was apparent. With the first crew, we relished the rapid apprenticeship where morning saw professional framers demonstrating for their new students, and by afternoon the students were in the driver’s seat as their teachers watched appreciatively. As I walked the site today, I saw this process repeated, but with a new pattern. This time it was the first crew of students who were the teachers, handing off to their newly arrived contemporaries.

Amelia shows how it’s done…

… and Emily takes up the challenge

Holly demos…

…and Rachel gets right in the swing



…and Serious

Lukasz trades his museum office in Warsaw for a shaving horse in Sanok


Corner Joint

Alicja at Work

Transport by Beamcart

John and Alicia Ponder the Fine Points

Box Frame Assembly, In…

…and Out

A Roof Truss Nears Completion

*     *     *

Professor Brown, equally comfortable setting a two man saw, or…

…Reciting a poem.

We close with that poem, which Rick read at today’s morning meeting to help give our day and daily work some of the ceremony it deserves, and to lift us from the mundane mechanics of axe and saw into a greater world of community and purpose.

As craftsmen and women we are given to talking shop, but seldom venture beyond the how of things into the why. But such deeper questions are hard to avoid when you have come thousands of miles to give your time, skill, sweat and devotion to rebuilding a small piece of a vanished world, to recreate and in some small way enter into a distant time, place and culture. Why do we do this? What is about our identity as joiners that leads us to serve through building together?

When we build the door to a synagogue and then open it and step through, we also open the door to these profound questions.  I apologize for going all metaphysical on you, but this a passage from which there is no turning back, and which we will revisit on occasion in these pages.


I will tell you something about stories,
[he said]
They aren’t just for entertainment.
Don’t be fooled
They are all we have, you see,
all we have to fight off illness and death.
You don’t have anything
if you don’t have the stories.
Their evil is mighty
but it can’t stand up to our stories.
So they try to destroy the stories
let the stories be confused or forgotten
They would like that
They would be happy
Because we would be defenseless then.

Leslie Marmon Silko

One Comment
  1. Roger Nair permalink

    Thank you Ed for your comments on the devotional aspects of the project and please continue to follow the vital veins where life is renewed and whispers speak ever louder. My best wishes to all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: