Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams

Out of limitations comes creativity. – Debbie Allen

The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things – ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later, or six months, or six years. But he has faith that it will happen. – Carl Ally

To do easily what is difficult for others is the mark of talent.  To do what is impossible for talent is the mark of genius. – Henri Amiel

Years teach us more than books. – Berthold Auerbach

Almost yearly, some furniture manufacturer would seek a design that could be mass-produced, but, unlike the popular machine-oriented planar and rectilinear contemporary designs, Wharton [Esherick]’s variable, compound curves required too much skilled hand-shaping and sanding to make replication economically feasible. – Mansfield Bascom

PRICE, n. Value, plus a reasonable sum for the wear and tear of conscience in demanding it. – Ambrose Bierce

If you remain insensitive to the individual characteristics of the material you are working with and cut regardless to a predetermined, exact measurement, then the finished piece will lack a certain wholeness and be little better than something you could have bought from a factory. – Graham Blackburn

If it bothers you that the chair [you are building] is askew, just go to your local furniture store and look at chairs until you feel better. – Brian Boggs

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. -Ray Douglas Bradbury

I like this plane more than I like most people. If you think I’m joking, you’re one of those people. – Bud

Faith is not being sure where you’re going but going anyway. – Frederick Buechner

We made whatever was requested, whether or not we had ever made anything like it before.  Customer requests became the basis of our education. – Art Carpenter

Perfection may be a goal, but it isn’t a possibility. – Laura Collins-Hughes

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. – Confucius

If there is something you really want to do, do it now. Don’t wait thinking that you will find time one of these days because time cannot be found. And don’t think you will make time either, because time cannot be made. The only way to get time is to take time. – David DeChristoforo

It must be useful, it must work dependably, it must be beautiful, it must last, it must be the best of it’s kind. – Dunhill’s maxim

The important thing is to not stop questioning.  Curiousity has its own reason for existing. – Albert Einstein

All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A fine woodworker makes what he believes in.  He makes what he sees in his mind’s eye. – Jonathan L. Fairbanks

Learn by doing. – Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

The more I learn, the more I realize what little I know. – K.C. Freeman

I don’t care how it is made – he [the craftsman] can make it with his teeth or a machine – it is still the final product that counts. – Tage Frid

My philosophy of life, really, is to be able to do exactly what you want to when you want to. – Ron Fuller

Start with a sketch, but make it quick. There’s real work to be done. – Stefan Hartwing

There are two types of fools: one says, “This is old, therefore it is good”; the other says, “This is new, therefore it is better.” – William Ralph Inge

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. – William James

You are what you settle for. – Janis Joplin

I use a pencil. – Frank Klausz, in reply to why he uses a pencil instead of a marking knife

Skill is doing things so well they seem simple. – James Krenov

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life. – Jessica Hische

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men.  No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. – Elbert Hubbard

Truthfully – you all should be modifying all of your tool handles to suit your own handle preferences in the first place.  Any single design will only suit a part of the population in the first place. – Rob Lee

The techniques are a starting place, and I do believe that in a sense, technique sets you free.  Once you have a ‘toolbox’, then the question becomes what you’re going to make, and why. – Tom Loeser

The craftsman of the future must be an artist. – Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Those who are strong enough to detour around what they have been taught in school are the ones who grow. – Sam Maloof

As soon as you realize that cutting dovetails is nothing very exciting or difficult, you get over the “romance” of dovetailing, and you can focus instead on “making fine furniture”. – Mel

Don’t wait for a good idea to come to you. Start by realising an average idea – no one has to see it. If I hadn’t made the works I’m ashamed of, the ones I’m proud of wouldn’t exist. – Polly Morgan

Successful artists have been so because they have shown people something they hadn’t imagined. If buyers all knew what they wanted before it had been made, they could have made it themselves, or at least commissioned it. – Polly Morgan

Basically the woodworker is not driven by commerce, but by a need to create the best object he is capable of creating. – George Nakashima

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun. – Pablo Picasso

The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it. – John Ruskin

As I work, each new curve or valley carved from the wood reveals what the next step will be.  Each wandering crack is a new challenging clue. – Conrad Sarzynick

Of course, everyone buys things for reasons beyond immediate function – to help us say who we are, to identify our values, and to set ourselves apart from others… The people who buy remarkable pieces do so because they need objects about them that can express their own individuality. – David Savage

One can become very proficient pretty quickly but becoming quick and good takes a lot longer. – David Savage

Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer

Most people are too busy searching for something in the drawer, to pay attention to the detail we’re obsessing about. – P. Severin

Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. – George Bernard Shaw

Man seems to be a problem-seeking as well as a problem-solving animal.  We are programmed to change, develop, and meet new challenges until we die. – Anthony Storr

Form ever follows function. – Louis Sullivan

In truth, this was not part of any grand scheme.  Much of it occurred just because we didn’t know what we were doing. – Ken Susnjara

A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. – Andy Warhol

An artist is paid not for his labor but for his vision. – James Whistler

[In craft] design, function and technique come first; in art, form and content come first. – Stephen Whittlesey

Unless you have a foundry, you can’t turn a jack plane into a scrub plane.  If you camber the iron and set a jack plane up for initial roughing of stock you have, voilà, a freaking jack plane – set up exactly as it was traditionally used. – Larry Williams

If you choose to do something that you know you are good at, you are setting yourself up for success.  If you choose to do something that you know you are not good at, you are setting yourself up for growth. – Chris Wong

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden

Woodworking is 3% talent and 97% not paying attention to the internet. –

5 thoughts on “Quotables

  1. ….”But when it comes to the genuine object,
    something of such undeniable value that a man
    wants to have it always with him – the
    perfection of form announces that it is from the
    hand of a master.”

    Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji,
    first quarter of the 11th century
    E.G. Seidensticker, translater, 1987.

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