Thursday, January 18, 2018

March 2013 Message from the Guildmaster

March 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Message from the Guildmaster

Jeff Bibb and Mitch Almason


I am still reeling from our annual meeting last weekend in Carlisle, PA. There was so much going on that it often became hard to keep track of it all. Between the excellent displays in the main room, the non-stop workshops in the hall, and Roland Cadle’s two thought-provoking presentations on Friday and Saturday, I believe we truly had something for everyone in attendance. The banquet on Saturday night was very enjoyable, and highlighted by the secretive work of the “Committee of Four” and their three benefactors. All of our past guild masters have now been honored in a magnificent fashion, and I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to the members who masterminded the awards. I am sure that more information will be published on our website and in the Horn Book for those who were not in attendance to witness these presentations.

After returning home, I was struck by several thoughts regarding our weekend of fellowship, and our lives in general. While in Carlisle, there was a general sense of calm that pervaded the conference. Folks milled around the display tables, asking questions, carefully examining horns, and enjoying themselves. Many were gathered outside at the workshops, often having the opportunity to try their hand at turning, carving, engraving, polychrome decoration, or other artistic pursuits. Everyone I saw was engrossed in their projects as if time stood still, and we were all catapulted back to an earlier, simpler period. Of course the fact that many attendees were attired in proper 18th. Century fashions helped the illusion.

As a child, I wonder how many of you thought that growing up to be an adult was a goal filled with “freedom?” We all thought that it would be wonderful to eat what we wanted, go to bed when we pleased, watch as much TV as we could stand, and generally operate our lives as we wished. Our young minds had a vision of adulthood that we now know never existed for our parents, our relatives, or their friends.

Our lives seem to become more and more complicated as we grow older. I know that I yearn for younger days when my responsibilities were no so great. Even as a teenager in the 1970’s, there always seemed to be time for friends, family, and everything else in my life. These days, I wonder how it will all get done. We rush from one thing to the next, send off emails at a frantic pace, take endless phone calls, try to get all of our jobs done around the house, and still make time for our friends and personal interests.

Horn work has proven to be a way to lessen stress. The hours spent carving, filing, turning, and perhaps decorating, move my mind away from many of the daily pressures that envelop us all.  If you were at Carlisle this weekend, you only had to witness young Mitch Almason, who enthusiastically took in all of the workshops and instruction that were offered to him. At eight years old, he has already made a very nice horn (or two?), and was fascinated by the artisans offering their experience and talent for his benefit. I wish that as adults, we could open our minds as he did to slow down, forget the other pressures in our lives, and just enjoy the experience of learning and sharing.

Previously, I have written something to the effect that we should pay more attention to the lessons of our elders. Perhaps we should also pay more attention to being a child, existing in that “wondrous” state that allows us to absorb and learn without questioning everything that we see, or allowing our lives to interfere with the process.  As horn workers, and as human beings, I think we might all be a bit better off.

Until next month, thank you. As always, comments or other thoughts are always welcome.

Your most humble servant,

Jeff Bibb

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