The wooden bowl…

There is a beautiful hand turned wooden bowl that sits on our coffee table. It was a Christmas gift from my son to my husband, Christmas 2008. The maker’s name is carefully woodburned into the bottom-” The Cranky Craftsman- walnut- 8/08″

Chris bought it for his dad at a craft show at which all 3 of us were selling our work. He used money he’d earned that evening, and added in one of his handmade chainmail bracelets to sweeten the deal. He was 12 at the time, and so proud of being able to buy such a finely made thing with his OWN money.

Mike was thrilled with the gift and gave it pride of place display, centered on the formerly bare wooden table. It’s been there ever since.

The wooden bowl

Not long ago, I was looking at the bowl with pleasure, and thinking about all the things it has held since it came into our home. It has been a temporary home for a number of small items… A few weeks ago I fished out the hammered silver bangles I’d placed in it when I was about to wash the dishes; the 3 unique bracelets had been made by 2 different jewelry artisans I know. The bowl has also held miniture dolls in progress, a few found stones and acorns, a ring my little sister gave me, and the watch Chris recieved in his stocking last Christmas ( a passdown from his father; the watch Mike wore 20 years ago in the Navy).

3 days ago our kitten, Echo, was carefully dropping a pink ponytail holder into the empty bowl, and then snatching it out again, over and over, with an expression of total concentration. It was enchanting to watch.

And at the moment, the bowl holds a tiny wooden puzzle- one of a set of 3 that I recently found at a thrift store and shared out among my friends.  Underneath, there’s a small stack of papers- exit paperwork from the company my husband has worked for for the last 3 years. The company is being sold and the doors are closing. (Just so you know, he signed with another company yesterday, so we are ok. But he’s going to miss the people he worked with. From the CEO on down, it was a good company filled with nice folks.)

That bowl, made with care and love, bought and given with pride, and cherished by the recipient, has become something of a symbol for me. It reminds me of the things we do together as a family, and of the many ways in which we enrich our own and eachother’s lives. We aren’t rich, but we have a number of splendid and unique things that we would probably not be able to afford if we did not make them ourselves or know the artists who made them. We are rich in beauty, rich in skill, and rich in love.

Chris gets to grow up, as I did, surrounded by artists and artisans and musicians.  The house is full of paper, paints, scripts and scraps. We tell eachother stories and exchange handmade gifts. Parties are wonderful; you may see anything from a cutthroat board game to an impromptu bellydance class, and there’s usually someone in a corner teaching someone a new embroidery or leatherworking technique. Plus a whole lot of “Geek Speak” since more than half of us work in IT one way or another. In the same evening, Chris is likely to pick up some info on corporate politics, a reccomendation on a show he might like to audition for, and get into a serious discussion on comic book vs. Hollywoood X-men. 

It’s a nice way to live. And it’s a very nice bowl.

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  1. #1 by Maggie on March 25, 2010 - 11:36 pm

    This made me tear up a little. Lovely post. 🙂

  2. #2 by Rowan on March 26, 2010 - 10:50 am

    Great post! Just think, Chris may one day share all the memories filling that bowl with his own family. 🙂

  3. #3 by woodsaladbowls on September 14, 2010 - 3:30 am

    nice story..may be you can make it become a novel,hehe…

  4. #4 by Scott McCourry on September 26, 2010 - 10:57 am

    That was a wonderful story! I was very proud to meet you and your husband yesterday at PPD! I gushed all night long with friends about your artwork and tent at the event. Everyone was amazed at the fine details in the Darkover, beautiful red-haired Celtic maiden, her pony and miniature accessories. Y’all are so very talented and richly blessed – may you always continue to be!

    Most sincerely,

    Scott (the former Marine)

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