Issue 16 T.O.C. – Gary Rogowski – “Forgiveness”

This post is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Sixteen. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is to come. 

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Gary Rogowski – “Forgiveness”

As woodworkers, we are our own worst critics. Every piece we build contains mistakes, corrections, imperfections – and we are painfully aware of each and every one. Sometimes we present our work to others almost apologetically, feeling the weight of our shortcomings and trying to soften the blow to our friends, even though they never saw the problem in the first place. This is a crippling way to be.

In Issue Sixteen, author and long-time woodworking teacher Gary Rogowski reflects on what it means to be free from this way of thinking. Reflecting on his own personal experiences and those of a friend, Rogowski poignantly draws valuable lessons about coming to grips with our own weaknesses. He writes, “Some days are smooth and everything goes right and some days just the opposite occurs. I cut a board too short and then I gouge another with a tool and in my vocal amazement at my stupidity I knock over my half-full coffee cup onto my notes and drawings. Sigh. Time to stop, regroup.” And it is this regrouping that is at the heart of moving forward. Rather than getting angry at ourselves or blaming others, we must accept mistakes as part of life and grow from them.

To err may be merely human, but it is definitely an everyday experience for us as woodworkers. How we deal with this fact makes all the difference in the world. As Rogowski writes, “But when I practice, when I forgive myself for being human, I can return to the work so much faster. Perfection kills the spirit. It makes me suffer when instead I should be happy for this work.”
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