From the Editor: The Healing Power of Woodworking
We each approach woodworking in a very personal way, and we get our satisfaction from it in personal ways. While appearing on our Shop Talk Live podcast (episode 189) at Fine Woodworking Live last April, furniture maker Nancy Hiller talked about the joy she gets from the work: “The brilliant thing about making something is that you get the satisfaction in three dimensions and sensually. It’s aesthetic in all senses; you get to touch the wood, and to smell the wood, and to feel the wood.”
Indeed, there is great satisfaction in completing a project. But woodworking is more than that. For many, the shop is an escape from the daily grind, a healing shelter from life’s stresses. When my oldest brother passed away suddenly in March, my woodworking helped me to refocus and to cope, providing welcome relief from the static noise that had enveloped the complicated processes of death and grieving.
I am not the only person who has found therapy in woodworking. It’s a story I hear quite often, especially from veterans who are trying to overcome the psychological and physical burdens of war. Their inspirational stories of how woodworking rescued them are the catalyst behind the Fine Woodworking Live Veterans Scholarship Program. We started the program in 2017, when we rebooted our annual conference at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center in Massachusetts. We offered three scholarships to active duty military and veterans, funded by Fine Woodworking, IBC, and the Southbridge Hotel. We also received some help from a private donor. That year the scholarships inspired a wave of charity. Soon we received calls from individuals who wanted to contribute independently from our generous sponsors.
We repeated the scholarships in 2018, but I wanted to get more people involved. So in 2019 we put on a silent auction of original artwork from the pages of Fine Woodworking to benefit our fund. Attendees bid big and often, and in the end we raised more than $4,000. I am forever grateful to those who donated. By the way, if you are interested in helping our scholarship program, contact me at [email protected]. It’s an opportunity to make a significant difference in someone’s life.