I remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine named Dan. Dan was an expert when it came to carving wood. I guess you would call him a wood carver. He certainly wasn't a lumberjack. He didn't "hew" wood; his talent lied in carving wood. Dan explained this to me over a few Mai Tais and informed me that the craft of carving wood was immensely more complex than I can possibly imagine. He kept impressing upon me the idea that carving wood is the same as sculpting from stone or painting with oils. Essentially, wood carving is an art.
The skill in masterfully carving wood is certainly impressive. I agreed that carving wood deserved to be respected more than it has been in the past, and Dan seemed happy that his point hit home. At first, I hadn't realized just how much Dan's words had affected me that day. The following weekend, I was lying on my bed and a commercial for a wood router had come on the television set. I immediately realized that wood carving is indeed an art. I grabbed my keys and headed to the nearest hardware store.
I was immediately overwhelmed with the sheer amount of wood carving tools that were available. I consulted a knowledgable employee and went home with a basic wood carving set that was aimed at novices. I had originally suspected the set to be a bit too basic but, after a day or two of practicing, I realized that wood carving is an art that could never be described as "basic". Since that day, my talent in wood carving has grown exponentially and I now count myself among the many devoted fans of the art that is wood carving.
The most important thing I learned about wood carving when starting out was just how important it is to be patient. This is an incredibly difficult skill to learn and nobody truly masters it. Frustration is natural for anybody who is trying to take on a new challenge, but wood carving has always been seen as an art that is supposed to promote relaxation. The key is to become "one" with the wood. Let the wood inside you and become one another. Only then will you be able to look at the wood and see what can truly be done with it. Have faith; all questions will make sense in the end.