How is the necessity of having a positive belief system related to woodworking? In major ways:

Wood belief | Doug with a bowlIn order to do the work Doug does, he needs to believe that he can. This process began with the creation of his first bowl in Vermont. He had purchased a small lathe to make 16 legs for an antique table top. Upon completion,  he wondered what to do further with the lathe. His customer suggested, “Why don’t you make bowls?” She had sown the necessary seed of belief and it immediately started to sprout into possibility.

He next had to carry out the belief. The opportunity came when a Vermont mill owner gave him a plank of beautiful butternut wood he had kept drying in his barn.  Single wood mill men have a love for wood grain. When they come across an unusual beautiful slab, they store it in their barn figuring they will make something gorgeous out of it one day. Knowing this, Doug asked if he had such a piece of dry wood and he bought 3 dry planks for $35.

Now with the possession of the machine plus the material, his enthusiasm fed the belief as he imagined the bowl that could come from the wood. Throughout the bowl-making process, he continued to reaffirm the “I can do it” philosophy. By combining his previous skills and experience from wood carving, design drawing, and duplication of fine antique furniture, his first bowl was created.

Returning to the mill owner, who was not seeking any additional payment, Doug presented him with one of the two bowls he had made from the kind man’s wood contribution. He took the bowl and while holding it in his arms, sat down in the tall grass and cried. This was the turning point of Doug’s belief system, and indeed, his career. He felt, “If I can make a bowl that causes a grown man to cry and bring this much joy from my art, this is what I will do.”

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.-Norman Vincent Peale

His belief in himself and his abilty became a known. He continues to reaffirm this with every bowl he creates. “I can do it” philosophy really works. Of course, not all who say this or visualize it, can go forward into woodworking without some pretty explicit instruction. And then, there is the experience factor. The more the experience, the more positive results, thus the belief and confidence in its reality grows.

Doug’s a believer. He believes talents are God-given. He believes in the goodness of the earth and in preserving rare, endangered and even neglected wood. To him, there is no such thing as exoitic (rare, unusual) wood. It is all unique, valuable and worth attention and preservation.

Continued belief is needed throughout each challenge. It seems his wood working expands in accordance with his belief expansion.


  • I love working with wood.
  • I keep my machines in safe and good-working condition.
  • I believe I can work safely with full awareness and make sure this happens.
  • I maintain strength with adequate rest, healthy diet and exercise.
  • I can create unique treasured wood pieces.
  • I can continue to come develop new bowl patterns.

It is important to realize, also, the motivating influence of others who have believed in Doug’s work and ability over the past ten years of bowl-making. Their encouragement and support caused him to never give up on his wood-working dreams.

Doug’s bowl making started with a BELIEF. The resulting works are evidence of the power of combining positive beliefs with skill, perseverance and action.