APRIL 27, 2014

The month of April has passed in a flash. I arrived home from teaching the twelve month intensive and jumped right into teaching as the Artist in Residence at Merrimack High School for the month. I had about 70 kids divided in different ways, on different days. Mondays I had everyone for 50 minutes at a time, and Wednesdays and Thursdays I had 3 groups for 90 minutes. Merrimack is a unique High School in that it has a shop, photography lab, video classes,computer, engineering, car mechanics and art classes. I am sure I have missed a few. Mr Carle my hosting teacher was wonderful. He jumped through hoops to get me there, which is an indication of his energy and dedication to teaching. The turning class (the advanced class) was really incredible. They are a group that is very self motivated and really committed to the craft. They would show up early in the morning and during study halls to work on pieces which were quite sophisticated. I decided to make bandsaw boxes with the other 4 classes. I like this project because it crosses woodworking with sculpture and every project is very different. I started by talking about the importance of putting yourself and what you believe in into your work. The response was wonderful and in the end I saw that so many students had taken it to heart. One student had an empty shell from his grandfathers (world war two hero) funeral. He wore it around his neck until his box was done and then lovingly embedded it into the front of the box. One student made a treasure chest for his young cousin while another made a replica of a Harry Potter book as his box. There were football, baseball, basketball and even a swimming pool box. One young women made the leaning tower of Pisa. I always get a thrill about helping students on a piece of equipment like the bandsaw. Even the biggest jock is nervous the first time, and then 3 weeks into it they all have the drill down and photo 1 photo 2 photo-2 photo-3 photo-4 photo-5 photo-6 photo-7 photo-8 photo-9 photo-10 photo-11 photo-12 photo-13 photo-14 photo-15 photoapproach the saw with confidence and respect. I helped the home room create a Canjo (an instrument made with recycled stuff.) Our final iteration was made from a raisin box , stick, and tuning pegs that were bolts with holes for the string drilled in. I found out they day after I left that they won the homeroom contest with it ,and all got free breakfast. The making of the Canjo really lit something in me and I have already made one and glued up the necks for 4 more. Teaching always does this for me. In the act of doing it you become personally inspired about so many things. Here are some pictures.

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About turningaroundamerica

Collaborative Team of Jenn Moller and Beth Ireland
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