Wednesday, December 17, 2014

THE LIFE SO SHORT, THE CRAFT SO LONG TO LEARN


The life so short, the craft so long to learn

I have this quote by Geoffrey Chaucer carved onto the front of a workbench in my workshop. I've always liked the quote. I first saw it years ago carved on a piece of Arts and Crafts Roycroft furniture and it immediately resonated with me. The quote's origins are even older than Chaucer's usage though, as it was widely used by Roman and Greek writers as early as the 3rd Century B.C.  The original Latin quote is translated as "art is long, life is short". I've always thought of it as a kind of 'carpe diem' for crafts people. 
Someone posted this quote on Facebook today and it started me thinking about time. Sometimes I worry that time is flying by and I'll never be able to find the time to learn all of the things and skills that I want to. That's, I suppose a negative interpretation of the thought carved onto my bench. That kind of thinking doesn't really do much (for me anyway) except for paralysing me, as in "why bother, there's not enough time anyway". I prefer to think of it as you can't do anything unless you do something. It's not easy sometimes to feel creative on a schedule, but sitting in your workspace and doing something, even a repetitive task leads to bigger ideas. So, on the days where I don't feel a creative muse, I get my butt in the chair and I do something, after all, life is short and there's a lot to learn.