Final results of the achievements at HDG

At HDG, it is the combination of passion for wood, learning and sharing which flow together to nourish the great tree of woodworking. It was a very hot day. On that sweltering sunny day in June, one could compare the passion of the students to the temperature of a carpenter's blood. Although I am not one of the students at HDG, I often visit to see what they are crafting.

The atmosphere here is one of family, as though everyone here is at their own home. On this day we all arrived very early in the morning. There is a lush patch of grass between the workshop and the library, and centered in the middle was a massive table made of naturally preserved solid wood.

Professor Lin Dongyang, the founder of this woodworking academy, was keen to have me inspect this massive piece of work. In fact, not a lot of special processing went into the thick wooden slab that is the table surface. Supported by a rugged yet simple structure made of steel, the combined use of such different materials surprisingly integrated a sense of modernism with nature as if it were meant to be. And soon to be spread across this table were various dishes each student had prepared and brought to share for a pot luck luncheon.

Within HDG's comprehensive library dedicated to wood and its crafting, there is an extensive collection of actual woodwork. The whole place emits an aroma of various species' scents that once breathed in, evoke a particular appreciation for this wonderful natural resource. Each year HDG presents the works of its students, and for 2012, they have over one hundred finished pieces. As I looked at each piece in this amazing display, I felt keen appreciation for the infinite possibilities of wood. Different wood species have different characteristics; different climates and environmental conditions cause each and every tree on the planet to develop uniquely. No two trees are exactly the same. No two pieces of wood are exactly the same. As is the same for Human Beings. Be it a length of timber or an individual person, each has a story that is unique. As the touch of a craftsman brings out the shape of his wood, the resulting piece of work is unique to its own. A woodworking project requires a plan.

The act of working wood enhances one's skills. An arsenal of skills allows one to make things with ease. Certainly, it takes a lot of time and effort to learn the craft of working wood. Creativity requires both contemplation and experience; the exploration and balance of what is emotional, and what is rational. The HDG Woodworking Academy is like the great trunk of a tree. Each of its students is like one of its many branches, and not a single piece of their work is like any other.

/ Report & Photo by Wan-ting Liao
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