When I look back and think of these last two years, I see so much change in everyone around me. I'm not sure if this depends on the realisation of what we've been capable of achieving despite the difficult times we've been through. We are proving that, as human beings, we are capable of much more than we think, and eventually, our survival instinct will always prevail.
But I'm not here to talk too much about this; instead, I'd celebrate the good things that have happened and will happen in the future.
So, WELCOME to The Makers Society's blog; in this first post, I will give you a personal insight into why woodworking could be your lifesaver. Do you think I'm exaggerating? Follow along and see if you agree with what I will say.
Here is why I think that woodworking is a fantastic hobby:
Have you ever heard of woodworking as a mental therapy? If not, let me tell you this: woodworking has been proven as an effective way to release stress and give a better mood, to the point that in many countries, for example, in the US, it is used to help veterans with PTSD.
I'm not a doctor, and I don't have a scientific explanation for this, but I can tell you its effect on me; it is by far the most enjoyable and relaxing activity I can ever imagine.
The good part is that achieving this peaceful state of mind doesn't necessarily take a complex project; it's not the final result that matters, but the journey itself creates that sense of personal achievement and fulfilment.
And it's forever!
"woodworking gives you endless possibilities"
Yes, it goes beyond the making part because the sense of pride for the achievement renovates each time I walk into my home and see what I made with my hands. There's a part of me smiling inside and thinking that I have endless possibilities to realize anything (or almost :-)) that comes to my mind. This feeling boosts my mood and reduces any anxiety for the future. Whatever it will be, I have the skills to make it through.
I have spent my entire life in the aviation industry, and I've always been trained to be a critical thinker, a problem solver and a decision maker.
Before graduating as a professional woodworker, I was already loving and doing woodworking as a hobbyist, and still, I wonder why I felt so much attraction towards this activity. I had my answer during my time at The Chippendale International School of Furniture, where I spent nine intensive months to graduate in Furniture Design, Making and Restoration.
"you can achieve the same result in 10 different ways"
Woodworking requires a good deal of problem-solving and decision-making. There's no doubt about this, and you'd better take it on board and make it part of your journey as a maker.
There's a saying that in woodworking, you can achieve the same result in ten different ways..and it couldn't be more true. But what is efficient, repeatable and fast? I wish I could give you an exact answer, but the reality is that each project carries many problems that await a solution, and only the maker knows what's better to do to solve them.
That's why woodworking makes you a better thinker; it continuously challenges you to find a solution, and guess what? Once you embrace this, you will carry this approach into your daily life.
I have had a smartwatch for a few years, and I monitor my daily activity, especially the number of steps I do every day.
Now, here is my take on this: when I'm in the workshop in full swing, I average double the steps I do on a normal day.
I'm a fast walker, and I remember, at school, some of my mates and tutors were making fun of me because I was walking in and out of the machines room like a soldier marching to the front line! And, at the end of the day, my number of steps was always well above 10.000! How was it possible? I was so much into what I was doing that I did not even realize how much movement my body was doing. This was without counting the physical activity of moving timber around and using hand tools like saws, planes and scrapers.
I soon realized that I didn't need to go to the gym to stay fit (hooray!!), the workshop was my fitness club, and all the tools I used were my cardio trainers and muscle makers.
"woodworking improves your motor skills"
And that's not all; woodworking was also improving my motor skills because the more I learned new techniques, the more my coordination and precision in the making improved. This was not enough, they were acting as a magnifier, and the more I learned, the easier it became to absorb and master new techniques. Again, I'm not a science guy, but I believe we can do much more than we can think of.
Do you feel like being a creative person? Uhm...this is probably a difficult question to answer on the spot, but think about it and define the meaning of creativeness and what could make you creative.
I've met woodworkers who thought they would never be able to come up with their ideas and yet show up one day with brilliant designs and unique pieces.
Here is my thought about creativity: it's a secret power we all have and lets us express our personality uniquely. No right, no wrong; creativity is an intimate expression of values and beliefs that takes shape when we make something.
Ok, maybe I was a bit too deep in my sentence, but I experienced what this means, and I believe it can be applied to anyone. Once we get out of our ordinary daily routine, we can unleash a potential unknown to us.
What can boost your creativity?
Well, first you should do what you love.
I LOVE woodworking, and it gives me a deep sense of freedom and peace of mind; it sets the right mood for me to be creative because I'm happy whenever I manipulate a piece of wood.
Then, you should observe and get inspired by what other people do.
I enjoy watching others woodworkers in the process of making, and I absorb a lot from them. This doesn't mean copying; it's a matter of finding inspiration in small details that I can then apply to my style and unique project.
At the end of the day, it's not a matter of reinventing the wheel here; it's giving a personal and unique touch to what I do.
Being a woodworker means being part of a community; that's a fact.
Nowadays, even if you woodwork alone in your garage, there's a community there, at the distance of a click, ready to support and advise you at your request.
You name it, a Forum, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all absolve the function of keeping us in contact with millions of other passionate makers who share our same passion.
But what's the sense of a real community where people meet in person? Let me tell you about my experience at The Chippendale School of Furniture, as this is a great example of how 26 strangers became friends after nine months of the intensive course.
It's crazy how it worked, but it's absolutely true. We never had serious conflicts (all families have tough..), we were all supporting each other, we were working on our projects, and, at the same time, we were boosting each other with reciprocal admiration for what we were doing.
We supported our growth, creating participation and a deep sense of belonging.
It was the first time I felt I was part of an extended family. And now that we are thousands of miles from each other, we know we can still count on reciprocal support.
What did this ultimately have an effect on? On our social skills! The shy became more open, the introvert became more extroverted, and the selfish became more generous, all for the good of our community. We were all under therapy, the wood therapy, and only at the end of our course we realized that we were better persons than when we joined the school on that beautiful day in October.
This is the first post of our blog, and it's our pleasure to welcome you to Dubai Makers Society, the new place in Dubai to make your woodworking journey possible, easy and mostly satisfying.
Woodworking is a rewarding activity that has many benefits for individuals; it boosts your mood, reduces stress, enhances critical thinking, and keeps your body active.
If you love woodworking as we do, join our community by subscribing to our mailing list. All our latest news and fresh new blog post are in your mailbox every week.
Dubai Makers Society offers a woodworking space to rent using power tools and heavy machines.
We also run regular classes for those who want to learn woodworking.