Today I found a lovely bowl in an Artfire artisan's studio. It's a lathe-turned Russian Olive Burl bowl that's just gorgeous. Woodworkers and woodturners have always fascinated me. It always looked, to me, as if it would be a very difficult art/craft to engage, and worthy only of those who have the true talent for it.
The gallery I once worked for frequently sold wood turned items, and sculptures made with wood, all of which were finely crafted and beautifully made. You could tell that each artist created these pieces because they were 'moved' creatively to do so.
You can't say that about manufactured wood products, really, can you?
I'm equally impressed by those who can work with metal--from simple wire wrapping to metal stamping and metal sculpture. I've read up on it, and it takes a great deal of work, and time, and dedication to complete even the smallest project. True enough, there are occasionally classes offered in my area in this discipline (not so woodcrafting), but leave it to niggling fear and self-doubt to stop me from taking them. For now.
One skill I have tried, and still find amazing, is lampworking and stained glass. A few months ago I took a beginner's lampworking class at Delphi artists studio in Lansing, MI. It was an all day class and I took it with my sister-in-law who is a gifted artist in just about anything, but is especially good working with glass. She'd concentrated mostly on stained glass so some of this was new to her. I managed to make two glass swizzle sticks and several (obviously) beginning pendants. But the process was fascinating and the day went by too quickly. Taking up this craft seriously would require quite an outlay of seed money for supplies (torches, kiln, tools, glass), so I'd have to think seriously about it before pursuing it further. That--and I'd certainly take more classes!
Never mind that during the class I dropped an hot glob of glass, burning the inside of my thigh and melting the cover of the stool on which I was sitting. Whoops. My bad...:)
Fair enough--few people can be whiz-kids in everything they try (and bully for those who can!). That leaves most of us to sit back and appreciate others for what they can do, as well as appreciate the work of those who love the same media you and I do. I think the goal is to foster a encouraging, productive and supportive world of artisans.