Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Talent For Building

I've never understood where my oldest son, Douglas, got his talent for building, his passion for creating, his ability or imagination to see something and then create it.
Perhaps this quote from Charles Dickens holds a clue: "The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists."

Doug has built many houses over the years, including this authentic salt box in the woods near Des Moines:
Some of my very best Christmas and birthday presents from my son have been items he has made, like this garden gate and fence for my 60th birthday:

Not only has he built many homes, he has also remodeled many more. The one he currently has almost ready to go on the market is in West Des Moines. He told me about the wide pine floors discovered and brought back to life. I hope he takes pictures of those.

I imagine they will be just as pretty as the ones in this house in Redfield he completely remodeled a couple of years ago. 

He has also built boats, and kayaks for himself... well as for his wife, Shelly. This one as he was working on it - 
-- completed, is a very pretty teal blue. (And he built the shop wherein he builds.)

He built grandson Rodney's cradle in the shape of a boat.

This year as he strove to overcome cancer and the effects of the treatments, he wasn't always able to complete the larger tasks which is possibly why he turned to a new, more manageable type of construction. I already showed the canjo he made granddaughter Lily for Christmas. 
This is a picking stick he constructed, related to a dulcimer, I believe. By the way, the desk it is on was also something made by Doug.

This is one of his latest box guitars. ( is his favorite source for supplies)

Another view. I think he said he has made a half dozen cigar box guitars so far. The history of these instruments goes back to the 1800's and were important in the rise of jug bands and blues. The depression era saw another increase in popularity as people could not afford real instruments.

Final view of Doug's box resonator guitar. I believe he said he got the box from his sister-in-law, Sally. It looks like it was once a jewelry box with the lock and key mechanism still part of the finished piece. I'm looking forward to hearing one of these instruments played.

The more I think about my son's talent for construction the more I think that Dickens quote is right - for Douglas, it is about the love which exists before a piece is created.

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