Music Trips The Memory Wire

How it all comes back: lying on the persian rug in Will & Linda’s first home, the lights dim, the headphones on, and doors opening in walls I hadn’t recognized were there all along. Triona’s walking bass lines still make me grin like a big dope.

A set of Irish Reels beginning with The Morning Star, live – The Bothy Band. Paddy Keenan pipes, Matt Molloy flute, Kevin Burke fiddle, Triona Ni Dhomhnaill keyboard, Micheal O’Domhnaill guitar & Donal Lunny bouzouki – 1977 – First track on their “Out of the Wind and Into the Sun” album.

Using My Eye Balls

unnamed Many years ago, back before I decided to get serious about woodworking, I made a pair of nightstands out of wood I found in the old sagyoba or “workshop”. I had very little idea about what I was doing, but by pure dumb luck, wound up with a couple of very useful bits of furniture which have served us well over many years. From time to time, I have returned to building small tables–to try out various techniques and to…, well, have more small tables about. As a result, small end tables have become a favorite project: they’re a good use of left-over wood and don’t take up much space in the shop or time on the weekend.

And they’re a good project for stretching my design wings.

Like many woodworkers, I have been in love with the Arts & Crafts, Mission, and Greene and Greene styles for a long time. One of the many points they have in common is a direct inspiration from Japanese architecture. But it’s finally occurred to me that instead of looking at what Western designers made of Japanese architecture a hundred plus years ago, I should probably just open my eyes and look around me.

One feature of this house that I have always loved is the wall along the approach to the front genkan or entrance. For reasons that are lost to time, the walk was built at a diagonal–perhaps to make the approach seem grander?–and the walls that lined the narrow walkway and hid the gardens on either side, made the approach seem even longer than it actually is. One of the walls was removed when the hanarei, or “detached house” was built for Mika’s mom. That remaining wall is my inspiration for the next small table I am building.

What I like most about the wall is the way–like much Asian architecture–it emphasizes the horizontal. It’s composed of horizontal layers that vary in material, color, depth and texture, so that it seems like a geologic feature.

Interpreting that feels interesting. Let’s see what I can do.