I was discussing our work with high school students at the bench. Winoregon.org is our non-profit to help fund these efforts. In my chat with a representative from one of the largest construction firms in the City, I mentioned that we help our students bridge the gap between their academic life and the real world. We do this by building furniture at the bench.
He asked me what The Bench was? An organization, another non-profit? I said no. The bench is both a reality and a concept. It is the place where the work gets built in my shop. It is the center of the universe in every furniture maker’s shop. Here it gets done right, here it gets fitted properly. Nothing leaves my bench without my approval.
Yet it is an idea too. It is a sense that working at a furniture maker’s bench yields benefits that cannot be touched or felt except by the maker. Where the brain and my logic work together with my grip and touch to create objects that will have some value in people’s lives.
He probably thought, what a whack job this guy is. No matter, it’s the truth for me. The bench is a firm place as real and rock solid as it comes. The bench is also the place where I go to make some sense for myself in this world. It is the place where I can make a difference.