DECEMBER 26, 2015

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Time is racing by as usual. Since my adventures in Philly I have visited the Tierney Learning Center to conduct an after school whistle making session. The program I visited is run by Claire Kaiser, a City Corp volunteer who is doing a smashing job. Working with kids from the time school ends till their parents are done with work is daunting. The kids clearly love Claire and are lucky to have someone like her as a role model and touchstone in their days. We need more people helping to channel the after school energy in positive ways.

Last week I made a Strum stick with Venera Gattonini in my Roslindale shop. She is the Woodshop teacher at New Market Middle School in New Hampshire. I have been lucky enough to visit her program several times. I taught her to make a strum stick in hopes that it will get filtered into the curriculum. Stringed instruments are the perfect project to fulfill the STEAM requirements at some schools. STEAM stands for –science, technology, engineering, art, math. I have started teaching this at several Art Centers. This summer I will be teaching simple stringed instrument making at Peters Valley Craft Center and Snow Farm. Any of you teachers out there looking for a new STEM or STEAM project, please join me this summer.

Last Week I was a guest Critic at my beloved Mass Art. I got to spend the day looking at the final projects of students in the sculpture department. My surprise was that one of the students was Katelyn Ming. Katelyn was one of my great students at SUNY Purchase where I taught for a semester in 2012. She transferred to Mass Art after I left Purchase, and boy has she been busy. She showed us her new work containing, blown glass, welding, metal casting and of course woodturning. I was very impressed and so glad to see where she is taking her work.

Last week I completed 2 large columns just in time, I leave tomorrow for The Center For Furniture Craftsmanship. Here are some pictures.

 

 

 

 

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NOVEMBER 19, 2015

On Saturday I participated in an event at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia sponsored by Craft Now. I was representing The Center For Art In Wood. We did a whistle making project. I had the best team ever. Suzanne and Jeff Kahn, Tom Sloan, Frank Nowak and Ethan from University of the Arts. Having this many wonderful volunteers’ allowed us to make over 150 whistles, between 11:00 and 4:00. It was non stop action and a lot of fun was had by all. I always find that it is difficult to get volunteer’s. I think people think they need to be an expert, or else they feel they do not know how to teach. The team helping me on Saturday all said the same thing, they were thrilled with the people interaction and they loved the look on everyone’s face when their whistle actually functioned. They were doing so much more than helping people make whistles. They helped some kids and adults hold a woodworking tool for the first time. This is a very powerful and primal experience. It is delivering the idea of self sufficiency in a world that leaves many individuals feeling disempowered. They were teaching problem solving, that saw could be used for many things, the measuring tools have many applications as well as the shaping tools. 2 parents during the event were blown away by the focus their kids had for this project and wanted to know where they could find classes. Because of these volunteers’ we reached over 150 people instead of 25. It made a difference. I volunteer for many things, I believe it is an important part of being in a community, my neighborhood and the community of woodworking/ turning I belong to. When ever you get something from community or activity it is important to give something back.  It does not have to be an activity that overtakes your life, it can be a simple as showing up at the Kimmel Center for 6 hours and helping a ton of people make a simple thing. Here are some pictures:

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NOVEMBER 18, 2015

I have just arrived home from a whirlwind of teaching and events. Last Thursday I had the honor of returning to SUNY Purchase and being the guest instructor for an evening in KimWinkle’s Class. She is the current Wingate Fellow and it was really great to get to visit her and be back at SUNY Purchase. Kim’s teach skills really show in the quality of objects that her class has been creating. I taught them how to turn a wet bowl,and the shavings were flying. Here are some pictures:

 

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OCTOBER 17,2015

I have just returned from a really great vacation. I went to France and Spain visiting my friend Sarah Kay (furniture designer) and her wonderful husband Pep. I saw many incredible things and ate a lot of great food. I got to help Sarah a little with some turning technicalities for her new chair design. What an experience it was! I ended my trip in Paris visiting my old friend David Sackrider and his family. I realize how many people my woodworking career has allowed me to meet over the years, and am grateful.  Although I travel quite a bit for work, I had not actually been on a vacation for over a year. It was a rich experience that has rejuvenated my thinking, and will have an impact on my art work. Here is a pictorial journal of my journey.

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Sarah and Pep

Sarah and Pep

Cadeques in Spain

Cadeques in Spain

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Dali's house

Dali’s house

swimming in the mediterranean

swimming in the mediterranean

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view from our Air BNB in Cadeques

view from our Air BNB in Cadeques

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castle at Foix

castle at Foix

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soap on a rope

soap on a rope

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Beginning mock up of chair design

Beginning mock up of chair design

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SEPTEMBER 20, 2015

I live in the neighborhood of Roslindale in Boston Ma. It is a great neighborhood. I know many of my neighbors. Last week we closed off the street and had a party, we do this once a year, it has allowed people to meet each other and made our street much tighter. There are many talented folks in my community. Rebecca lives up the street, she is an amazing woodworker, and good friend I have known for years. This morning I stopped into her shop and she was making incredible corbels for a house in Boston (see picture below). Her husband Kenny is the kind of guy who can rebuild a bike from old parts, make a kayak and the paddles or draw a picture for your wall. My neighbor Mary is an artist who is always inventing things. I live at the back gate of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. In the morning I ride through the arboretum on my way to a coffee shop. Mary can often be seen walking her dog and writing on sticks. She picks them up from the ground and writes a sentence of what she is currently thinking about. After helping me teach bookmaking at the farmers market, she has delved into more sculptural book making, combining her writing sticks as the spine (picture below). My good friends Martha and Leah live across the square from me. They just bought the house next door to them for Leah’s Dad to live in. They are renovating the whole house them selves. Last week I stopped by and they had the side of the house off and where putting new sills on the foundation. This blew my mind. I am fearless but I cannot imagine that. They saw there was ant damage so they peeled back the layers on the house exposing the foundation. They realized they needed new sills, did not have the time or money to hire someone, and they all put their heads together (Leah’s Brother Mark helped) and figured it out. I love being around all these people. They make anything seem possible. Later on we are all going down to a restaurant in our community to listen to Kim and Eric play music, they live two blocks down.

Mary's stick books

Mary’s stick books

Rebecca's Corbells

Rebecca’s Corbells

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SEPTEMBER 7, 2015

This weekend 3 volunteers helped me teach book making from recycled materials at The Roslindale Farmers Market. I will admit I was was tired from a weeks of teaching and working, and not looking forward as usually do to this event. Once it started I was reminded of why I started this project to begin with. It is not always about the final project, sometimes it is just about helping a 5 year old sew with a needle for the first time. This project was equally challenging to kids and adults, and no matter the age the response was the same , “totally Cool”. I want to thank my helpers , Mary, Ilsy, and Eve. many hands make light work.

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SEPTEMBER 4, 2015

I have arrived home from ten days of teaching at The Center For Furniture Craftsmanship. I had a great week teaching Learn To Turn. It was a full class of energized excited students and I was so busy I forgot to take pictures. I love teaching beginners. It is so wonderful to watch people progress from never touching a lathe to easily creating a turning. Everyone in the class made a turning tool they learned to sharpen (different ways), an awl, a mallet, a box and a bowl. Here are the 3 pictures I took.IMG_0350 2 IMG_0351 IMG_0348

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AUGUST 23, 2015

IMG_0322I am at the Center For Furniture Craftsmanship teaching. Today was the second and last day of The ukulele Event, taught by Silas Kopf and myself. It was amazing to see what people came up with in two days. I will be here teaching a turning class for the week. Here are some of the wonderful Ukulele’s made this weekend.

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AUGUST 16 2015

It seems like I stepped back into my shop in April and now it is almost September. What happened? I have had many interesting jobs this summer. Here are a few from this month.IMG_0252 IMG_0255 IMG_0257 IMG_0159 IMG_0181 IMG_0185 IMG_0247

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August 1, 2015

I have just arrived home from a great week teaching at Peters Valley Craft Center in Layton New Jersey. It is a little jewel of a center I have been teaching at for years. I reunited with Peter Park who I worked with last fall during my Windgate Residency at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Peter was also making instruments and we covered a lot of research in one semester together. It was there that we envisioned a stringed instrument class. It was fun teaching with such a skilled woodworker and wonderful freind. The students were great. We had one student who had used woodworking equipment before the class ,and everyone else learned as they made their first instrument. We made strum sticks and the jumped into making guitars from found objects. Everyone had a good time ,and we all jammed together the last night. Fun!!!!!! 

    
    
   

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