Monday, October 22, 2012

[WIA] Thoughts from those who attended (and did not)

Everyone enjoys playing cooper!

I am planning to share some of my thoughts on Woodworking in America with the organizers, and would love to hear what you would have them know, as well.

What would you look for in a woodworking conference?

If you did attend, what did you most and least enjoy? What would you like to see change?

Part of my feeling was that the seminars themselves had an appealing focus; lots of nitty gritty discussion of traditional techniques, methods, and contexts. However, there was very little discussion about plugging this into the modern real world.

The marketplace had the usual suspects as far as hand tools go, but there was not as much hands-on or demonstration type exhibits as I would hope. I could do something about this, personally, and plan to if I return. I think a tiny joinery bench, a simple toolkit, and a stack of boards would go a long way to letting people see (and feel for themselves) the beauty of traditional methods.

One of my favorite aspects of the event was connecting with a couple younger woodworkers who had the passion and interest but simply did not know where to start. Next time I am there, I would like to have some better answers than I did this time. I feel it is vital to the community and the craft in general that younger people are taken seriously and welcomed earnestly. They need mentors available and I feel like the clock is ticking all too rapidly.

I certainly have some other, more complex reactions to the event and some of them I might flesh out here over time, others need a bit more thought and introspection. Nonetheless, these events are, in my opinion, very important to helping rebuild the networks of real-world interaction that are lost as a craft becomes a mere "hobby", often with only websites like this one to provide any sense of personal connection.

If you have anything to say about the event, or what your ideal event would be, feel free to post a comment here or send me a note. I will compile your thoughts and present them to the event organizers in hopes that the options for building woodworking community in the future will only improve.

a new old shop

In other news, I am excited regarding a new shop space (hinted at in another post). It looks like this is moving forward and I will have a spacious new shop available in the future.

Ironically, perhaps, is that I will not be doing a lot of woodworking in this shop despite living next to it, because I am happy to announce that this winter I will be attending the Port Townsend School of Woodworking's intensive program. 3 months, 5 days a week, 9-5 (or more) of solid woodworking instruction and practice, meaning I will not be doing a whole lot outside of that. I'll still be updating the blog, and detailing what it is actually like to be immersed in a traditional woodworking program.

Much more soon.

This is the time of year when many of us can finally get back into the shop a little more earnestly, and also when the reading becomes more interesting for the armchair craftspeople. I hope that as this year winds down, health and peace are with you!

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