I wanted to think a little about why people carve wood. One of the reasons I often hear is to relax. It seems to provide a good way to get away from it all. For a little while, one can leave behind the troubles of the world and focus on something creative and rewarding.
Carving, like many other crafts or artistic endeavors, requires a certain level of concentration. In order to be safe, you need to be aware of your tools as well as what and how you are cutting. I think this helps to block out those all consuming anxieties and allows one to focus on the process - to live in the moment. So much of our lives seem to be spent regretting the past or worrying about the future that we lose sight of where we are right now.
The sense of relaxation is also aided by the contemplative aspect of carving. In this hectic life, we are either rushing to complete tasks or we stop to let the TV do our thinking for us. Carving requires us to think about what we are doing. We must be actively involved. At the same time, the process is often at a pace that allows time to carefully consider what we are doing.
From my own experience, I can see why so many people find a sense of relaxation in carving. In some later posts, I plan to consider some of the other reasons for carving. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.