Wander to Wonder


Lettering on “Not all those who wander” bowl II.

I guess I can’t get Tolkien’s words out of my mind.  This is the second time in a few months that I’ve carved the same line onto a bowl: “Not all those who wander are lost.” I wrote a post about the first one in February.  This time, the canvas was a bowl of my more usual form.  Different bowl, same lettering style — just adjusted to fit the new field.  I’ll be taking this one to Greenwood Fest, as I’ll be short on examples as it is.

I guess the line resonates with folks for as many reasons as there are ways to wander.  I often wander on walks through woodlands with my dog, Sam.  We never  tire of making new discoveries along the riverside.


Maybe the magic of these meanderings lies in the rhythms of nature.  Sycamore fruits wait against a clear blue winter sky for the coming of spring, when they will scatter their tiny seeds, each one storing awe-inspiring potential.


The Dickinsons Reach Calendar brings such thoughts to mind this month with a quote from Rachel Carson:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”


It seems to me that much of the allure of wandering centers around mystery.  I think I wander to wonder.


I recently read Peter Wholleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees.  He embraces this sense of wonder:

“Under the canopy of the trees, daily dramas and moving love stories are played out. Here is the last remaining piece of Nature, right on our doorstep, where adventures are to be experienced and secrets discovered. And who knows, perhaps one day the language of trees will eventually be deciphered, giving us the raw material for further amazing stories. Until then, when you take your next walk in the forest, give free rein to your imagination-in many cases, what you imagine is not so far removed from reality, after all!”


The book is full of revelations, and the more that is revealed the more the mystery expands.  I hope you have a chance to wander and wonder a bit this weekend.


This entry was posted in books, Lettering, nature, quotes and excerpts, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Wander to Wonder

  1. francedozois says:

    Just finished The Hidden Life of Trees, got it out of the library and will be buying it soon. It’s a keeper. Lovely post as always–

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cynthamum says:

    Wonderful wandering words! I need to read The Hidden Life of Trees.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ron wilson says:

    I love your work. I especially like the final texture you get on your bowls. What gouge do you use?


    • Dave Fisher says:

      It varies, Ron, depending on the size and design of the bowl. For the bowl in the top photo, I used a gouge with about a #5 sweep. Honestly, even though it was only a couple weeks ago, I can’t remember if it was the Hans Karlsson bent paring gouge 90 sweep or the Pfeil Swiss Made bent gouge #5 25mm. Both have almost exactly the same sweep.


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