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Artist?  craftsman?

An artist's work is never finished!

A craftsman's work is never perfect!

I'm never quite sure which I am!  Craft and art are opposite ends of a kind of continuum.   Exactly where the maker spends his time depends on the step he is about to undertake, as well as the vision guiding his movement.  In the moment, its never really clear if what Iím doing is craft or art.  Either way, Iím up against a dueling nemesis: 

An artistís work is never finished! 

A craftsmanís work is never perfect! 

Each will define my limitations in ways that humble me!   Work like this is highly introspective.  In it, I see myself in light that is seldom flattering, often harsh, and without fail,  brutally honest!  If itís craft, any mistake, no matter how well hidden from the eyes of anyone who looks, is forever burned into the memory of the maker.  If itís art, knowing when itís finished, then having enough confidence in yourself to stop, is often what separates the novice from the master!

It's about crossing a very personal line that separates
where I am from where I want to be!

So why do I do it?  What is it about craft or art that drives me to do difficult things that will never be perfect, or that Iíll never really know for sure if I'm finished?  For me, itís about crossing a very personal line that separates where I am from where I want to be!  Itís about a yearning to get just a bit closer to being finished, or just a bit closer to being perfect, even though I know Iíll never make it.  Itís as much about granting myself permission to fail as it is about succeeding!  I canít do this without optimism!  My optimism encourages me to try.  This time I might get it right, but first, I have to try!  I think the true essence of craft or art is that itís a wonderful way to face difficult things with a calmness that can only emerge out of personal optimism!  My goal is simple: This time, Iíll be better than the last.  This time, Iíll know when I'm finished.  This time, Iíll edge just a tiny bit closer to perfection!  Whatever this thing Iím doing is called, craft or art, the object I produce becomes a lens through which a clearer vision of myself emerges!

About Me

Woodworking is both my hobby and my passion!  After over 48 years in the craft, I still consider myself a student!   I love projects that seem just a little beyond my ability.  I particularly enjoy working with veneer and marquetry, and recently have begun to incorporate stained glass into my projects.

Iím a strong believer in freely sharing what I know with anyone who is willing to take the time to learn.   That is why Iíve created this website.  Iím not interested in selling anyone anything!  I just want a platform I can use to share some of what Iíve learned with others.  In this age of bits and bytes, Facebook and twitter,  smart phones and computer games, I strongly believe it is more important than ever to encourage young people to discover the pleasure of creating something with their own hands! 

I have a degree in Electrical Engineering and am retired after a long career in the telephone industry, mostly designing computer software.  My professional life began as an entry level engineer and programmer.  I retired as the corporation's Senior Technical Officer.

When I enter my woodworking world, I try to leave the modern world outside my door.  My shop is filled with modern tools, but I try to use hand tools as often as my skills will allow.  For me, woodworking is how I connect with my inner self.  When I enter my woodworking world, I usually reject ďfast and easyĒ and prefer instead slow and difficult!  I place achievement on a higher plane than expedience.  I place contentment on a higher plan then gratification. 

My shop is located about 50 miles from Chicago in a rural area close to the city of Yorkville, Illinois.  My wife and I have raised three wonderful children and are now the proud grandparents of four granddaughters and one grandson.  Iím very blessed to have my son work with me on occasion.  Watching him grow as a woodworker and knowing that I've passed some of my skills to him is probably the most gratifying thing I've ever done!

Please feel free to send any comments or questions to larry@larryciesla.com


I enjoy teaching and feel it is important to pass skills along to other craftsmen.  If you're interested in learning how to work with veneer or how to do Italian Marquetry, and you live in the greater Chicago area, contact me about a private two day workshop.  My price for putting on a private workshop is modest, and most of the price you'll pay is to cover the cost of materials. 

Please feel free to send any comments or questions to larry@larryciesla.com