Two years ago this week I set off on a journey. It was a project that in my mind would last for one year only. Turning around America has become so much more than a one year project for me and my colleague Jenn, it has become an ongoing, constantly changing and developing idea about the act of learning, making, and inspiring. This week I have set off on a one-month mini tour in the south. It has started with a two-day object-making event at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville Tennessee. Not far from where I worked with kids at the Kingsport Boy and Girls Club. The students at Tennessee Tech were great. They all jumped in to the whistle-making project with enthusiasm. With no lathes available these whistles were made with simple files and rasps and coping saws. For many students it was the first time they had used tools. I love the moments when an individual first encounters the idea of shaping wood with a tool. You can feel the excitement. I had a conversation recently with a friend who told me about an article he had read stateing that the act of making an object produces endorphins in the creator. I know that’s true because even though I am teaching the same skill set over and over the endorphins flying around the room keep me high also.
I really love being back in the van in this cold weather. I have traveled off and on in the last year but not in the kind of weather that requires you to snuggle up in a cocoon and produce your own heat. I have never slept better. My gracious hosts are Kim Winkle (a good friend I met on my travels the first year of the project) and her husband Graham, they live in a beautiful spot out on a point jutting into a lake. There are trees all around turning beautiful shades of orange and yellow. I have seen multiple deer in the yard and Saturday a flock of twenty turkeys wandered by. I have had a wonderful visit and will be sad to leave tomorrow. I will be heading to The Pocosin Art Center in Columbia North Carolina.
Here are some pictures from Tennessee.