I pretend I exist in a bubble or cocoon. Each day I’m at home, I get up & have breakfast with the family, and then make my way out the back door to the workshop. Open up the windows to let in the sounds of the birds, check the river – tide in or out? Coming or going? And then sort the day’s projects – am I cutting these mortises, carving which pieces – most of my concerns are about really great quality oak, sharp tools, and learning from studies of period pieces…

And it goes like that day in & day out. Which hatchet? Are these bowls dry enough for the next step? Ah, I figured out what design to carve for that panel. Then, time to clean up the place and re-set the bench…

All the ordinary stuff is an intrusion – have to go to the dump, the bank, did I pay the bills? I just want to get back to work in the shop. All of that is just like the rest of us.

Every so often, I traipse out into the world to teach a workshop, deliver a lecture/demonstration – that sort of thing. And those audiences are pre-disposed to receive what I have to give. An interest in woodworking, furniture history, spoon carving – they’re already converts. But I know although we have woodworking interests in common, there can and will be things we don’t have in common. And that’s usually fine with me. I can get past a lot of stuff, and concentrate on our shared interests. And it has always been a great kick for me to come together with people I might otherwise not connect to…

This year, it’s been tricky, with the political climate in America and the world. I have specifically stated in many of my classes – “No politics, please.” Just to avoid the issue. Trying to be polite…and it has worked thus far. 

Like I said, I can get past a lot of stuff. But…not racism. Not Nazis marching in the streets of 21st-century America. That shit doesn’t fly. Everyone should be against that…none of this “many sides” crap.

So…in the hopefully unlikely event that some of my readers are sympathetic with the KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, etc that were on display down in Charlottesville this past weekend, – if that’s you – please un-subscribe to my blog. Please stop following me on Instagram, FB…please don’t come to my classes. Please don’t buy my book, videos, spoons, etc.

I want nothing to do with racists.

Back to oak now.


84 thoughts on “interlude

    • Peter – First … well said and I agree.

      Joe – I would have to disagree here. I think what makes America great is that we can disagree, not like each other – much less love one another – and still stick together.

      However, as much as I hate what they are saying, I still defend their right and any others to think it and say it as long as it is peaceable. It is a slippery slope that we can go down when we start to censure anyone for what they think and/or say. The ACLU understands that as well and vigorously defending the rights of everyone including the deplorable KKK (in the past their right to march in Chicago in the 70s and again in this case). Like it or not, I will defend their right to protest and speak what they think as much as I will my right to speak against it.

      Action is another matter entirely and should be met with swift action and justice.

  1. Hear that clapping and two fingered whistle of appreciation? That’s me! I wish everyone would speak out. This isn’t about politics. This is about stamping out hatred. Bravo, Peter!

  2. I work for a company that resigned from one of the president’s boards yesterday. I try to keep my enthusiasm for my daughter’s athletic pursuits, yet I found myself thinking I was proud of how the CEO put the very basics of right and wrong above profits.

    Well said Peter

  3. Peter, I totally agree that the chit don’t fly. The logical outcome of their views seems not to be coexistence, but the more sinister aims of the Reich. Deplorable without a doubt. I have struggled with this as well. Just today I wrote on my FB wall (I’m not cool enough to have a blog) that I invite civilized, non-name calling discussion on issues. I can’t say they’ll always work or make progress, but it’s what I believe that we have to do. Asking for distance, to be left alone and perhaps live and let live won’t solve the festering wound of social and racial inequality in this world. As exhausting and maybe futile feeling at times, we have to engage, discuss, and cast back into the realm of idiocy those views anathema to the America we cherish. We have to eradicate it again and again. The garden left without attention is choked by the weeds. So too with the gardens of our mind and public discourse. I, without a doubt, understand your call to disassociate. I hope this doesn’t foreshadow and general withdrawal from the realm of public discourse. SUch would be a shame. And hopefully your blog post indicates you will from time to time, engage in the public theater. Sincerely and with respect, Mike. The sandal wearing spoon carver from Jojo’s class.

  4. Our history has shown all of us this truth- the only thing hate needs to survive is permission. A simple nod or wink can burn a country down. It is the atom bomb of political warfare . It needs to confronted every time. To innocuously ignore it is to tacitly approve it. The pain and discomfort in standing up to it pales by all measures to the destruction it brings. Thank you Peter for standing up

  5. Thanks for putting this out there, Peter. Maybe there’s one reader out there who reads this and it prompts them to reflect a little. There’s still time to change and to grow.

  6. Bravo, Mr. Follansbee!
    Isn’t it too bad for us that our politicians are so involved in their own political careers, perks and monied lobbyists than they are in making America GREATER for all of its people including flora and fauna!
    God bless you for standing up for the higher principals that we all claim to subscribe to!

  7. Amen!!!
    Just finished my first spoon Peter.
    Enjoyed it.
    Trying to duplicate the spatula/spoon item I’ve seen on previous blogs !!
    God bless

  8. Thanks Peter for the thoughtfulness of your response to the sad events in C’ville. I totally agree and support your speaking out. Keep up the good work.

  9. Hello Peter,

    … always enjoy your posts and photos and I’ve enjoyed a class of your’s too – I look forward to more.

    Just saying I agree with you when it comes to this right-wing thing. “Hear, hear!” This is not who we are. And I’m glad you’re speaking out against such madness.

    I’m scared of where this is going and say on FB over and over to many posts/shares: “Our silence makes us an accomplice.” We cannot let America fall into this dark abyss.


    Regards, Gary Paddock Wakefield, RI

    On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 9:55 AM, Peter Follansbee, joiner’s notes wrote:

    > pfollansbee posted: ” I pretend I exist in a bubble or cocoon. Each day > I’m at home, I get up & have breakfast with the family, and then make my > way out the back door to the workshop. Open up the windows to let in the > sounds of the birds, check the river – tide in or o” >

  10. Peter, I was born in Statesboro, GA in 1962. My parents were involved in the civil rights movement. The FBI told my parents not to let us kids play in the front yard because it wasn’t safe. My parents were threatened physically by the KKK on multiple occasions. I have no tolerance for racism. I grew up with the teachings of Martin Luther KIng Jr. I believe we need to stand together holding hands in resistance to injustice.

    Today former President Obama quoted Nelson Mandela “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

    Learning to love and respect diversity starts with a safe place to come together. Your workshops, blog, the Greenwood Fest have provided that safe place for so many of us. Thank you for that.

  11. I want nothing to do with RACIST folks, Black, white, yellow or blue. And it. Has all been on display in America lately. A shame of hatefulness!!

    • Alex Jeffries, thank you for teaching me a new word! Not sure if there is another Greek word for “word flourishing”, but if there is, it would apply to what Peter has written, as well as the many comments posted here.

  12. I just read one of your commenters refer to This “right wing THING” Racism. The person is pretty NARROW of scope. Racism, as tragic as it is , is no less pathetic, when toward whites by blacks, or toward Chinese from Japanese. Believe me when I say …All prejudice SUCKS, and is hurtful and mean. RJM

    • Robert, thank you for these observations and I support them and Peter’s comments wholeheartedly. Racism is repugnant and must be addressed with clarity and vigor, and its attendant thuggish violence equally so. I will endeavor to find and reflect on the blog post wherein Peter condemned the inherent racism of Black Lives Matter and LaRaza et al and the endemic violence of Occupy and Antifa. Free speech is frequently unpleasant, but at least it has the great benefit of helping us sort out the folks we choose to associate with from those we do not. Certainly I choose to associate with Peter and not associate with knuckleheaded bigots. I keep the latter on the radar screen, but only because they are so dangerous.

      • I don’t believe I saw Peter chastising any other groups! Just the nazis and President Trump for a “tepid” response! If you find Peters comment please let me know!
        I have seen nazis tactics from Antifa all across the country and not a peep out of anyone!

  13. You made your point so beautifully and elegantly and I totally support your stance. Racism is ugly and hurts everyone. As for homophobia all I can say is we are all homos….apiens.

  14. And may the lord bless the two police officers who lost their lives in Charlotte this weekend and comfort their families and friends in this time of grieving! Amen!

  15. Thank you, Peter. Silence should never be our response to hate and racism. If I don’t already have your books and videos, I’d run out to buy them as a sign of support.

  16. I don’t know about you, but my dad and most of the adult males (and some females) around me when I was growing up had spent considerable time in uniform to keep fascists from walking the streets. Some of them took part in the civil rights movement. I try not to let them down, I am glad that you, and those who replied, have not.

  17. I understand that working in the public realm requires you to be a neutral figure, but sometimes neutrality don’t fly either. THANK YOU for saying what needs to be said!!

  18. I must have missed your blog post when Black Lives Matter killed 5 white officers last year. Or is that not worthy of virtue signal about?

    • well, Thomas Hammond, that was a snide remark. From what I understand that incident in Dallas was not a shooter affiliated with Black Lives Matter first of all. Secondly, I don’t recall the President at the time making excuses for the killer. Yes, a deranged young man picking off police officers, regardless of any one’s color is a horrific situation. Nazis marching in the streets, and and the President’s tepid reaction to them, is even scarier.

      • Ugh. There always has to be one……at 2:00am commenting from behind a computer. Yuck. Learn to love. Respect your fellow man. Enough is enough. Stop the hate.

      • I completely disagree. But I don’t get paid to convince leftists that they’re wrong or perhaps unwilling to confront 21st century cultural reality.

  19. Here’s an idea – let’s stop ALL the political rhetoric and get back to the reason we all subscribed to this blog.

    There are racist groups on BOTH sides – is there anyone here who would disagree? Their actions are obviously unacceptable, just as are those of child abusers…drunk drivers…cop killers…and so on. Do we really need to use this forum to say so? Are we going to turn this forum into a discussion of all types of deviant behavior, or just the ones that are “hot off the press”, until we refocus our attention on the Kardashians again next week?

    • Thanks, Mike. I agree that I come here for woodworking and carving info. If Peter wants to discuss politics and violence, I have no problem discussing them with him and others. That’s NOT why I come to read this blog.

      I will add this comment: I agree with Peter’s comments as far as they go; I also agree with Artisancdw and Thomas Hammond – hateful, voilent rhetoric AND violence are not only on the far right. A lack of response to that violence from political leaders and other commenters calls into question whether the silent ones support or abhor that side’s tactics and goals.

      And THIS is why non-woodworking topics should have their own place to be. I predict this thread and any others like it will devolve, as much of the internet commentary does, into name calling and ad hominem remarks.

      • Lol…guess I was correct. Haven’t heard a thing about Nazis since then, and it isn’t because they all disappeared or had a change of heart – we’ve all just moved on to the latest sensational stories (such as deciding after 150 years that it’s unacceptable to allow any grave site memorials to Confederate soldiers who died in battle, away from their homes). The American Nazi party visited my high school back in 1975, dressed in their tan uniforms and passing out simply ridiculous hate literature on the steps just outside the building at lunch and after school. Nobody took them very seriously, most just laughed at the content of the literature and at these grown men imitating Nazi soldiers. Nobody called the police, nobody alerted our parents, nobody provided counselors for the students – I guess back then people expected 15-17 year olds to be able to figure out right from wrong.

  20. Back to the original post:

    “I pretend I exist in a bubble or cocoon. Each day I’m at home, I get up & have breakfast with the family, and then make my way out the back door to the workshop. Open up the windows to let in the sounds of the birds, check the river – tide in or out? Coming or going? And then sort the day’s projects – am I cutting these mortises, carving which pieces – most of my concerns are about really great quality oak, sharp tools, and learning from studies of period pieces…

    And it goes like that day in & day out. Which hatchet? Are these bowls dry enough for the next step? Ah, I figured out what design to carve for that panel. Then, time to clean up the place and re-set the bench…”

    Peter, in many ways, you are lucky; this is the kind of thing that many people dream of but can only do when on vacation or on a weekend when they aren’t busy with other things, at least until they retire from their careers. I suspect that there are many “professionals” who sometimes need to escape to another persona, whether it be woodworking, living in a cabin in the woods on weekends, or riding with a group of Harley owners. I’m curious; as an artist/craftsman, do you find that you have a need to do something different at times, and if so, what might that be? (Barry Sanders, one of the greatest running backs of all time in the NFL, is said to have studied calculus in the locker room, which somewhat alienated him from his teammates and was perhaps an indication as to why he decided to retire early from football), You probably have a number of other artist/craftsman friends; in general, do they typically have the need to escape into something else?

  21. Peter,
    Agree with your statement, however your later statement about the presidents tepid response I think is not right, I don’t use mainstream media coverage to form opinions I go to to find out what is really said. I thought his statement of last Monday was OK. Those remarks about Dallas and similar incidents compared to last weekends just shows you the impact the media can have on people

  22. Peter,

    Yup. Thanks for speaking up — no time to be silent.

    There aren’t two sides to this any more than there were at Normandy. Pure evil isn’t a side. It just needs to be fought, and beaten. By all of us, together.

    Then we can go back to the good stuff… spoons, birds, tides. Best,


  23. Bravo Peter,
    I support your right to use your blog as you see fit (cf. negative comments above) and good on you for speaking out when the hatred and bigotry manifest in the US has now spilt blood in the streets. Up till now I’ve never seen you comment on anything further from your personal world than baseball, so I can see how disturbed you must be over Charlotte to post about it. My hope is that now this has been brought into the open, these boils can be lanced and healed.
    From deep in the South Pacicfic
    Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui (be brave, be steadfast, be big of heart)


  24. Well said Peter. After reading your post and seeing the photos of where and how you live I can see why you have the desire to get back to your shop. On the politics that you described with the Nazi’s and KKK all I could think of was the Blues Brothers movie where Jake and Elwood drive through their march. Perhaps that is a protest to a protest but it would be dam funny to see happen in your, mine or any country.
    Be well and much respect to you and your loved ones.
    Sam Gordon

  25. I thank you for this. It needs to be said repeatedly. While I disagree with a few of the commenters, this is not a political blog so I’ll leave it at that.

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