One productive virtue that comes to mind as I work at the Berkshire Carousel is collaboration, or working together in a consulting sort of way, where workers offer an approach to a problem, and then patiently listen to or watch another come at the situation in a different way. There is thankful acceptance of the other's idea, and work goes on.
This is most noticeable when it comes to deciding the best lines to use when carving a neck, head or torso of a horse. It went sort of this way. I asked Art if I had carved deep enough on one part of the neck of Malinda, if it was rounded sufficiently. Of course the answer is usually, "You can go much deeper, but let's attach the head, to check the alignment and depth." He pointed out the importance of the windpipe, saying "The physiognomy of this horse demands that it be accentuated." "Wow!" I thought, as he uttered that word that I hardly have heard used since I read Jane Eyre about forty years ago.(Photo below shows the neck of Malinda as Art draws an area that needs carving; my hand holds the chisel in bottom left. The sawzall in the foreground is not a tool used in carving.)
photo by Katy LevesqueAfter I had worked on that for a while, going deeper, rounding, preserving one aspect, eliminating some high spots, Art came by to check again. This time, Becky, conscientiously working on the head of Malinda, had noticed some lines for belts that seemed to be out of whack with lines on the other side of the head. Art checked it out. He redrew some lines, and was about to move away. Becky, however, recognized another problem (Becky has been carving at the Carousel for about five weeks when she volunteered for this duty with her husband John, who continues to meticulously carve the dental work for Thunderbolt). "If I carve those lines, then how will it line up with the neck. It will be different." I suddenly realized that her question affected what I was doing, so I perked up. We put the head back on the neck, and checked it out.
At this moment, a carver named Sue came on the scene, and in a flash recognized not only the problem, but the solution. With a pleasant "May I?", she picked up Art's pencil and drew on the neck the connection that needed to be made. My job was simplified again as she repeated the phrase, "Go deeper along this line, and round it" and added "just like your own jaw bone." We separated the head and the neck. Art picked up his pencil and gently erased some lines he had drawn, and smiling said: "Perspective is important. Thanks, Sue !" Problem solved until next time.
The collaboration among the four of us was important. The mighty horse Malinda will be well fashioned, bedecked in roses as she jumps on the carousel.