I know I write endlessly about time travel, but I am not kidding, you it really feels like that. It was just July and I was sitting in my studio with a map on the wall planning possible places and people to visit on my project, and now in February I have taught over 1500 people and driven 10,000 miles. I have not even had time to process all the adventures and people. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown to me by so many people.
When this idea first started I thought of myself as a Johnny Apple-seed character. If I could travel and plant little seeds all over the country about woodworking and making , some time in the future the seeds would grow and there would be a new crop of woodworkers/woodturners. Maybe someone would remember how to use a saw or drill from that experience and be able to fix an object in their future home. My expectations were small. I am now in Saint Petersburg Florida resting. As I look back over the last five months I realize I have accomplished so much more. Last week at Safe Harbor we planted the seeds and watched them grow right in front of us. Those kids told us that these skills had already changed some fundamental part of their lives. They were also kids at risk that all of a sudden had adults interested in them, sharing knowledge, food and camaraderie. I could not foresee that kind of interaction when I sat in my studio in July. I was thinking of planting a seed. I had not thought about community and how it can make a crop grow a lot faster. Jenn always says – “we are smarter, stronger and better than me “. I was only thinking about me doing it myself (I am stubborn that way), it is so much easier with help. Last week I gave a talk at The Florida Woodturning Symposium, I mentioned my project and how it had come about from seeing the decline in hand skills from our current generation. Someone in the audience said -“yeah they are closing all the woodworking programs” my response was -“We are They!” We can all effect what happens in our schools. This trip has shown me that if you get a crazy idea in your head , you can make it happen. The idea does not have to be complex, maybe that idea is to go to school board meetings, or volunteer to help a teacher in our schools. I can tell you for a fact that one person can make a difference. The Jacksonville Woodturners showed me how a group working together can make a bigger difference.