“The central concern [of my own work] is encouragement – encouraging people to seek, to experiment, to design, to create and to dream.”
– Wm. S. Coperthwaite, A Handmade Life
There are few events that I look forward to more than Lie-Nielsen’s Open House. Every year, Tom Lie-Nielsen opens his doors and invites his fellow toolmakers to showcase their work. The list of guest demonstrators is always long and impressive. Hoards of people come out to this small town of Warren, Maine for a most unique fellowship with these hand tool fanatics. Visitors are able to handle and use the most amazing tools in the world all in one place. It would be easy to write a blog post all about the incredible craftsmanship at this event but, this time, I won’t. As Mike and I talked for two days straight with hundreds of passionate woodworkers, something even more incredible overshadowed our experience: the encouragement this community offers.
Over and over we had conversations with people that told us their lives were touched and profoundly changed by this hand tool community. They expressed appreciation for those who labor to teach craft skills and those who make tools to empower their creative work. I talked with some that told stories about specific years talking to specific people that forever changed the course of their life. I almost saw tears in a few eyes. (That is not hyperbole.)
It is humbling to be invited to participate in such an encouraging and supportive community of artisans. At events like these, there is no posturing, no one-upmanship. We all give and we all receive.
So, thank you, Tom, for your courageous and humble example of encouraging others. Over the years I’ve watched you, it has become clear that you share Coperthwaite’s central concern to build others up. This corner of the world is better place because of your generosity. We are all grateful and indebted.