Posted by B-Rad Henderson
One aspect of Rotary’s Vocational Service calls on us to empower others by sharing our unique skills and expertise which will help others discover new professional opportunities and interests. During this COVID-19 period, many people find themselves light on work or are embattled in unemployment situations. If you are an active, engaged Rotarian, you probably view vocational service as a way of life, even if you find it difficult to characterize a clear definition.

I have found myself to be a type-A person, with characteristics associating self-worth with achievements and always looking for something to do. This parallels the notion that “work is dignity,” where I’ve transitioned from career to career with the passion to engage in what I believe is important and what I find fun in “doing.”

This leads me to my retirement years and a third occupation, pursuing a pastime of amateur wood carving. I now create abstract wooden sculptures that reflect the careful touch of a practiced, passionate hand. While it might sound like a straightforward discipline, I’ve chosen sculpting over the traditional whittling, relief carving and chipping techniques practiced.

Wood carving is a fun, accessible, and creative craft that doesn’t require a fancy studio, or equipment. All you need is a piece of wood and something sharp to carve it with. Woodcarvers manually shape wood into the desired shape using tools like knives, gouges, chisels and my personal preference, a Dremel® 2001 Multi-Pro rotary abrader (variable speed – 5,000 to 30,000 rpm). AAARRGHHROOO?!?! (cit. Tim Allen). 

My projects have also become ‘divine’ to me; it truly fills me with a great sense of purpose. I’ve dedicated the time to exploit an affection for wood, its smell and its ease of form generation, not for my personal glory, but to produce “work” that is not worldly but entertaining. For each outcome is not simply an aesthetic piece of work, but a channel for meditative therapy and making use of hand and mind control.