One of my teachers talked about how there was a basket that each of us needed to fill before we made consistently good reeds. The basket was a different size for everyone and you never knew how big your basket was until it was full.
Sometimes I still wonder if my basket is filled.. sometimes reed making feels wildly inconsistent..
But if I’m being honest, it’s usually because I’m not being consistent.
I spend all this time working to control the variables of my reed making.. and I am often the biggest variable.
How I show up at the reed desk has more impact on the outcome of my reeds than anything else I can account for.
Can I show up with presence and ease even when I feel distracted and rushed?
Can I remember how my posture affects everything about how I scrape?
Can I get quiet and really pay attention to the way my arm feels and how the cane comes off as I scrape?
Can I notice how the cane responds to everything I do?
Can I stay curious about the inevitable variability of it and how even if all my ducks are in a row, I’m working with a natural material, no two pieces of which could ever be identical?
Can I remember the “why” behind the reed making?
When I stay consistent in my presence, my reeds invariably turn out more consistently.
Happy oboe-ing! 🕊️
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I am an oboist and reed maker.