November 4, 2010

Before I go into my present activities I will talk about the past couple of weeks. I will pick up at my second class at The Center For Furniture Craftsmanship.I had another great class assisted by Rob Chamberlin. Rob is a talented woodworker from Kalamazoo Michigan, we were lucky to have him with us.I taught some of the things I usually teach but added a component that I think went really well. I called it Ordinary /Extraordinary. This assignment came from the observation that- many people can become technically good at woodwork/woodturning, but along the way design and creative development have to develop equally. What good is it to have skills with no place to go with them. I had the students chose an ordinary object they have seen many times and elevate it by changing the material (in this case wood). They were wonderful about jumping right in. There were many challenges. I tried to explain that the problem solving that comes from going beyond your current skill set is how you can develop more quickly technically. Rob, our assistant, took the task on with attention to detail that amazed us all. He found a bottle of beer and reproduced it in wood. He played with stains and shellac to build up the finish so it looked just like the original bottle. Aileen reproduced her silver bracelet in a large size. She had to hollow, carve, and attach pieces. Frank made a great version of his Binoculars, with a working hinge. David saw a drinking glass at a restaurant we went to. I encouraged him to borrow it for a few days, but his fear of arrest led him to making it from a picture he took with his camera. His glass required hollowing,  shaping, and  indexing. He added ice cubes and a straw. Mary brought in mushrooms and reproduced one in a larger size. She played with offset turning and carving. Cary made a copy of his french press including the interior. Dan made a replica of a bottle that had held water. Don reproduced his coke bottle in a mini size. Al copied a plastic cup, requiring him to index and carve. I was very proud of them all leaving their comfort zone to try this project. When they were done everyone was very happy to jump into a project of their own design. I was happy about that also. Here are some pictures of their pieces and of some other work that was done that week.

Al's plastic cup

Cary's french press

Don's mini Coke bottle

Dan's water bottle

Mary's mushroom

Aileen's bracelet

David's drinking glass

Frank's binoculars

Robs beer bottle

About turningaroundamerica

Collaborative Team of Jenn Moller and Beth Ireland
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