An Art Piece Turns Into a Rant

Simple Flower by Garnet Hall

Simple Flower by Garnet Hall

I have not been posting more often because I am preoccupied with an artistic project that consumes my entire energy. Several years ago, I began making Intarsia pieces for my grandkids. Intarsia is a form of artistry using woods of different color, grain and shape. Think of it as a picture made from wood.  At the last-minute I decided to give Christmas gifts that come from me, and not from my pocket. I won’t make it. At a minimum, I need twelve Intarsia pieces to give the people on my list. So far, I have completed one. That means I have to make one piece a day from now until December 19 to make it happen. So far, the first piece has taken me twelve hours of labor to complete.

Yes, there is a learning curve, which I am quickly re-learning from my last Intarsia project.(about ten years ago) but I have a lot of work ahead of me. My body doesn’t like the long hours spent cutting, fitting, carving, and sanding each piece of wood into a work of art. At the end of a session, my neck hurts like hell, my feet are tingling with needles, and my back aches beyond belief.

Most commercial Intarsia Artisans are satisfied to keep their wood pieces flat with only the edges rounded. When I see work of that type, I cringe. My pieces need a three-dimensional reality. It takes time to make that happen.

I lost precious time just finding my carving chisels, my sand-papers, and setting up my band saw to cut precisely. At one point in the middle of an intricate curve, the saw blade stopped dead, yet the band saw motor kept running. I realized that the blade I was using had cut plastic, metal, frozen meat, and many other materials. The points were missing from the blade. I wound up replacing the blade. Thankfully, I had a spare on hand. The blade change took me an hour to accomplish as I had not done that in several years. When I began cutting again the blade wandered off the line causing me to lose time because I had to back up and restart the cut. The guide blocks needed to be readjusted closer to the new blade so it wouldn’t twist off course as much. I used a pencil to trace the design onto the wood. I could barely see the line. Little by little, I am regaining the Intarsia craft skill.

This afternoon, I went to the garage to find a box of wood pieces given to me by a friend from work. He is a furniture maker and uses a lot of mahogany, walnut, and oak.  The box weighs about fifty pounds. He gave it to me in nineteen ninety-five, and today was the first time I looked in it to see what kind of pieces there were for my Intarsia. I counted five different woods of various colors, shapes, thicknesses, and sizes. Some will be useful, but most will not. Some of the pieces may be worthy of wood carving projects.

The design I chose to make is simple. It uses ten pieces of two different color woods to create a simple flower. The most complicated project I have done is forty pieces which required sixty hours to complete.

As the project progresses, I think about the manufacturing process, and the cost of making things. If I were making the minimum wage of $8.25/hour, this project would already cost $99.00. In order to make a profit, pay for the wood, saw blades, sanding paper and such, I have to add another $99.00. The cost of this project to you would be $198.00. If you were to see this piece at a craft show and you fell absolutely in love with it you might pay $25.00 for it.

That is why manufacturers outsource work to countries where labor is cheap. In order to make this piece to sell for $25.00 my labor cost would have to be $1.04/hour. That assumes the materials and tool replacements were free.  Let’s face it folks, I can’t survive on $1.04 per hour. My lunch cost me more than my hypothetical earnings today.

What will we the sheeple of the Divided States of America have to do to create an economy that demands the hourly rate we expect and need to survive? The last input I had from experts was we need to become the information society. We the sheeple need to become the experts of the world who can charge an arm and a leg for the knowledge we possess. There is only one problem, the rest of the civilized countries in the world are on the same track.

Where will the knowledge come from? First there is education, then there is experience, then there is innovation. We the sheeple will not make it with our union burdened education system, and all of our experience went to China and other third world countries, so that leaves innovation. How will we get innovation? From ideas that we turn into products.

The former USA now the DSA is still very good at innovating and inventing. We are still capable of leading the world in this area, but there are fewer people who are able to do so. Wit a pissy-poor education system, we dumb down our young people. By teaching our people to depend on big government we numb our brains to anything but a handout. By dividing the country and demonizing those who become rich from innovation we kill any chance at new innovation.

Our Supreme leader realizes what he is doing, and yet he continues to dumb down the populace in favor of a one party system which will turn us into tax slaves who feed the elite.

Let’s face it, the current élite minds who profess to know how to save the world will be the reason for the end of the planet.

Simple Flower by Grumpa Joe

Simple Flower by Grumpa Joe

8 Responses

  1. Joe, here’s the way I describe it: liberals don’t mind that their policies will drop the average level of prosperity in America. They don’t care about the ABSOLUTE level of our prosperity, which is dangerously unfortunate. Instead, what they care about is what they see as a variation from person to person that’s too large. Liberals want us to be EQUALLY less prosperous.
    – Jeff

    • Jeff:
      Amen. They are a sad lot. They seem to not understand that the system they so want to destroy is responsible for liberating more people from poverty than any other, including socialism.

      • I heard somewhere recently, perhaps on Denver conservative talk radio, that the progressives are enjoying a transition period right now. We still feel like a prosperous nation because socialism’s consequences haven’t shown up yet. There’s not enough buyers’ remorse yet. So the Santa Claus promises just keep coming, and they’re believed by too many people because the downside (I almost typed “downslide” — a Freudian typo?) isn’t very evident yet to the politically unaware.
        It’s a fancy way of saying “There’s no way to stop the trainwreck until it actually occurs.”

        Beautiful woodwork, BTW. That would sell for more than $25…perhaps $60. So you’d get $3.50/hour. Consider that a promotion…Merry Christmas!

        – Jeff

        • Jeff: I keep thinking about the story Atlas Shrugged. It is to much a prophesy of our future. The only sad part of the story is it doesn’t highlight the misery of the people whom the elite were so eager to do business for under the guise of the “common good.”

      • Did you see Parts 1 & 2 of the recent movie rendering of Atlas Shrugged? They’d make a perfect two-DVD gift to yourself, serioiusly.

        Anyway…in Part 1, the Colorado oil tycoon character Ellis Wyatt was played by actor Graham Beckel. Surprisingly, he’s the brother of lefty political pundit Bob Beckel. I hate to intrude further into your Christmas gift woodworking time, but I guarantee you’ll find these two videos interesting. The first is an appearance by Graham Beckel talking about the movie and his staunchly conservative political views. The second is a joint appearance of both Beckel brothers. It’s amazing how these two brothers can each perfectly articulate their polar opposite ideologies, and not disown each other.

        – Jeff

        • Jeff: I saw the second part, and loved it. My friends and I decided we would rent the first and watch it together. I like your idea better. Buy the set and watch both back to back. I here the producer has second thoughts about completing the series.

  2. Your grandkids are lucky to have you as granddad who takes such pains for creating original stuff for them. In my view, if they imbibe these values of hard work and sincerity, they should be able to figure out most of the rest of the stuff required to make a difference in the world.

    • Ankur: So far al my kids are outstanding citizens and their offspring are the same. If their are more like them, our world will be a much better place. Thanks for the compliment.

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