Posted in Musings

Chop wood,carry on

Classic tug, Noreen, built in 1906
Oh my back! Monk’s shop to left

Its been very lovely in Port Madison this Spring.  I’ve been regrouping after putting up the art show, taking stock and redirecting energy toward simpler things like chopping wood.  We are talking serious wood chopping.

The building is a workshop built by  Ed Monk.  I’ve been privileged to Moor Old Hand at this historic site, built by one of the Northwest’s finest boat designers.  I feel his presence in the stoutly built out- buildings and docks,  and gladdened by the thought that, he too, hauled gear and materials up and down the steep path to the water.  His can-do spirit inspires my humble efforts, and I take extra care in the stacking of split maple and cedar.  This stacking is itself, an art.

old hand interior January '12 007
Interior of Old Hand

At first, I was unimpressed by Monk’s designs.  But as I worked on his boat-houses I came to see his ubiquitous, wooden power cruisers in a new light.

I find rusty, bent shipwright tools near Monk’s shop, and use an old, weathered workbench he made.  After the long preparation for the exhibit, this physical connection with  common objects that surrounded his life has inspired in me an appreciation for the simple aesthetic of usefulness.

My boat, Old Hand is not a Monk, but was built of such stuff.  Her portly hull design is a scaled-down version of the hefty Norwegian lifeboats designed by Colin Archer.  After 10 years of owning her I’ve   greater appreciation for her ponderous lines and stout workmanshipShaw Island 2009 961.                                         So I am readying for another season of sailing.  I look at tide tables and plot course South toward Old Hand’s first port of call:  Gig Harbor.

So stay tuned for posts chronicling these adventures on the Salish Sea told in art, music and videos.


I am an artist, writer and sailor in the Pacific Northwest.

2 thoughts on “Chop wood,carry on

  1. Hey Craig- thanks for info on boat design and Ed Monk-great pictures too. Amusician/buddhist pal of mine sings a tune called “Chop wood carry water” a fave of mine-see yuhz, slim

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