Creating Makes Us Wealthy

By Bob Dunham


American writer, Kurt Vonnegut put it this way: “I tell everybody to practice some art, no matter how badly or how well. It doesn’t matter. It’s the experience of becoming—of creating—that truly matters . .  it’s a way to become, to find out what you are, what you can do, what’s inside of you.”

It was not the way I made a living, but I have dabbled in several forms of creative art during my lifetime, some of it pretty shabby. In retirement years I have had the luxury of time to pursue painting, stained glass, and photography. Most of you are aware of my photos, especially the ones that appear in this magazine. What you probably don’t know is that I spent some time before JKV in my own wood shop. I had every piece of equipment one needs and was able to produce a variety of wooden creations. While it has not been possible to continue woodworking at JKV, let me tell you about some boxes I crafted, that made at least my wife Maureen happy.

“We do not experience ourselves as a gift until we are engaged in the act of creating.”

Elizabeth O’Connor

The boxes shown in the photos were made for storing small items, such as jewelry, and are sometimes referred to as bandsaw boxes. Through several processes of cutting and shaping, you end up with a  pretty and useful box. The ones shown are made with purpleheart wood (my favorite), walnut and  maple. The drawers are lined with felt. The box on the left, not a bandsaw box, is made with a top that slides open rather than lifts.

There are many very talented artists here at JKV. As Elizabeth O’Connor once said, “We do not experience ourselves as a gift until we are engaged in the act of creating.” John Knox is beginning to discover and recognize the many residents who have artistic talent, be it woodworking, painting, or photography. We need to encourage those residents to exhibit and share their talents. The Bay Art Exhibit and the photography exhibits are a good start. As our community resumes planned activities, we look forward to the possibilities of additional facilities for resident artists to pursue their talents after they come to our community.

This not only enriches those residents, but it adds to the values of our community. The words of Stewart Stafford are appropriate: “Every creative act, however small, enriches our species and the world around us. To find and nurture talent, is to be truly wealthy.”