Friday, May 29, 2009

The Hide Glue Book

Stephen Shepherd has published a new book, "Hide Glue: Historical & Practical Applications."

Men & Women: An Observation

A lady (non-ww) pointed toward the relief carving on the presenter's 18th c. sideboard and asked, "Is that hard to do?"

There was a low chuckle from the all-male (but for me) crowd, and the speaker looked at the woman, speechless. What a loaded question. She added, "I mean, do you need to have artistic talent?"

After some thought and a few false starts, he answered, "Just try it and see." That's a perfect answer for men. As a woman, that was not what she was looking for.

I want to point out that the presenter did the best he could to answer her question on the fly and added that it is a skill that can be learned. He in no way was being disrespectful of her, nor were any of the men in attendance.

There are always exceptions, and I'm generalizing, but: Women lack confidence.

When faced with something they've never done before, men tend to fearlessly "try it and see." Whereas women usually ask themselves "Can I do that? Can I figure it out on my own? Will I screw up? Who can I ask for help?"

Add to that: Women don't like to make mistakes. (I know that men don't either, but they don't seem to be as petrified about it.) Could be that women don't like to waste material. Could be they don't want to waste their time, when often (and again I'm generalizing) they have less free time than their husbands. That's because women sometimes take on too much, care too much about what the house looks like, and worry too much about everything.

After the presentation, a friend introduced me to the lady and told her that I do some carving. I'm a beginner at carving I explained, but in my opinion, copying an existing design is more technical than artistic. It's more about layout, following the rules of grain direction, and learning to use the tools properly. If you're going to carve original designs, then that requires some artistic skill. I added, "If you have a desire to learn something, you will learn it."

She said that she knits and does other crafts—that she likes to work with her hands. "Then you can do this," I said.

She wanted someone to tell her that she has what it takes to try something new. With women, a little encouragement goes a long way.

This post is in no way meant to be a cut on men or women. I admire both genders for their strengths and weaknesses—for everything they have to bring to the table.