Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm learning some lessons about addiction to technology in this new year.  Lesson number one started with my old desktop computer. Attempts to download some video and graphic files were failing because my software was out of date. When I attempted to update the software I learned the computer was too old to support the upgrades. Time to get a new one so I did. But I couldn't open my word or data files on the new one now. I have to find alternative software I can afford and find out how or if I can transfer files to the new software. It's frustrating to be confronted with a totally new way of doing what I used to do naturally. Now, the second lesson was about to start......
I was in the studio the other day working on a new wood engraving block with my trusty electric engraving tool. Suddenly the hand piece seized up. This had never happened before and I've owned this handy tool for at least seventeen years. I use it nearly every day when engraving a block and for many hours a day. I took the hand piece apart, even though I'm mechanically challenged. I had taken the thing apart before when there had been an electrical short. That was not the problem this time, so I twisted the little motor to see how it turned. There seemed to be some resistance but after turning it more it seemed to loosen up and spin freely. The bearings in this unit are sealed and don't need lubrication (according to the manual) so I figured I could put it back together and give it a try. I did, and it work... for about ten minutes, then it screeched to a sudden halt. I accepted the fact that it had reached the end of its rope and it had served me well.... very well. So I ordered a replacement hand piece from the manufacturer.

Until that replacement arrives, I am re-acquainting myself with my trusty hand tools. I've used hand tools all along, but only when it is necessary to have more tight control over the engraved line. This all causes me to reflect on how reliant we are on technologies and how we become so used to them that our manner of working is totally reliant on them. We reach the point where more direct methods of making things or making things happen become totally foreign. I'm now developing a higher level of respect for basic methods of doing things. But I'm still anxious to receive the replacement hand piece so I can work as I've worked before.