Listened to Shop Talk Live 29: Secrets for Sharp Blades and Perfect Plane Irons this morning and Asa and Matt 'waxed poetically' about what motivates them in the shop.
Asa was articulate in talked about how when one simple skill is learned and repeated, a sort of forgetting of the steps, a flow of the repetition, the noticing of little refining steps, all lead to an experience of flow or do I dare say rapture? It is the small things that bring us to the shop. Progress slowly and gaining confidence little by little focusing on little tasks.
Matt seemed to be most excited to be in the (his) shop when everything is setup correctly. The example he used was resawing with a properly tuned jointer and bandsaw. This is a skill learned after much trial an error. Now that a system is in place with upgrade tools and skills, it just added power, creativity, and expected results to resawing. The tools and techniques become invisible and background to creativity.
Will, adding my 2 cents worth to this conversation. I couldn't agree more with Asa and Matt. They bring up great points about learning to the point of automation, in a good way freeing us up for higher tasks like creativity and safety. For me there is a strong sense of "flow" when I'm in the shop. I didn't see that in my professional life and not nearly as much as I wanted in my social life. It doesn't seem to matter what I am working on, I love going into the shop. I like to start the day with swiping the floor, it gets my mind in a place to be receptive to the thought processes for the projects ahead. In some areas of woodworking I am skilled and other I'm a beginner. In the former areas, I see and refine my skills, in the latter, I am learning backs skills known to other for 100's of years.