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Building a Frame Saw
Forging a Copper Kettle
Making a pair of leather work boots
Forging and Fletching a Bodkin
Flocking a drawer interior

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Stray Lines on an Empty Page

The long tradition of mapping the earth has been alive since the genesis of society itself. Such a simple thing, lines on parchment, on stone, in the earth or in the mind, yet it is more than a representation of civilization. At least, to those cartographers who gave them birth. Whether accurate or abstract, by the design of nature or imagination, a map is more than a giver of direction and information, at least it is to me. It is like music, or art, or poetry, or dreaming out the window on a soporific mid-summer's day-- it is a way to change how we think and how we view the world through these eyes that never sleep. 

Drawing maps- of any kind- has been a fascination of mine almost as long as has been Medieval History. I was never much of an artist, although I love the feeling of pressing pencil to page and creating something with it. People were the worst to draw, and any other form of life only slightly better. But maps were always different. It was a way to let my mind wander and break the binds that this world has created, replacing them with my own. I am sure there is no lack of the wonderful and mysterious, the grand and the breathtaking things which make this earth so incredible, but that is just it- they already exist.

As Napoleon said, "Imagination rules the world." Or, as I see it, imagination creates it. Everything is empty until the mind fills in the darkness.

Whether in writing, drawing, smithing, working with wood and leather, reading or walking through nature's bounty, the sense of awe and wonder and inspiration will ever bring me back to those days where the good people of this earth were less fortunate than we. Where what lay around the next bend of the land was all but unknown and the common practise was to make what was needed, not outsource the labour and the time, pay for the service to be done by someone with years of training and education, or to send for it via mail or internet. 

Of the dozens of maps I have drawn, only one has ever been the same as another, and that was because it was amongst possessions stolen in the dead of night and in need of recreation. (but that is a tale for another time).

What are all thoughts but stray lines on an empty page?

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