Pass on your Woodworking Skills

Helena Woodworkers Guild Members

Anna Baker, one of the committee members who will be planning a guild-sponsored workshop this year.

Helena Woodworkers Guild Members

Dan McArdle (left) and Jeff Camplese are also on the workshop planning committee

Helena Woodworkers Guild Members

Tim Carney is the fourth member of the workshop planning committee.

At last night’s Guild meeting, we set up a committee of 4 members whose task it will be to plan and organize a hands-on workshop that will be sponsored by the Helena Woodworkers Guild sometime this year. The topic is to be determined by the committee. Thanks to Anna, Tim, Jeff and Dan for volunteering to plan a workshop.

Through this furniture blog, I stumbled across a really cool video that fits right into our idea of teaching each other through a workshop setting. This is about passing our skills on to others, not holding them close to the chest, but giving our knowledge to younger generations so that the beautiful craft of woodworking stays alive.

Here are some quotes that may inspire you to share your knowledge however you can.

The craftspeople working today have inherited their skills from a previous generation and we’ve got a duty to pass those skills on to the next generation. It’s a little bit like the gene pool. you can’t capture it on films or in books. It has to be passed on from one person to another. — Robin Wood, traditional woodworker

If you don’t hand it on, all that’s not given is lost. So you must — if you get good at something — show other people how to do this. — Lida Cardozo Kindersley, letter carver

The video is by Creative Skills Awards. At 4:43 the video features Graeme Douglas who, through Impact Arts has worked with 368 unemployed youth, teaching cabinet making, product and furniture design and selling products in their own Glasgow shop. I love his accent!

They are just there and they are just willing, they don’t mind. you can ask them the most stupid question in the world and they will just answer it. Because in their eyes its not stupid it is a really simple question that everyone should actually ask and know the answer to as well. — quote from a young silversmith, speaking about her mentors at Yorkshire Artspace

Most people can make. And craft, when it’s at it’s best its the highest level of concentrated discipline, control and imagination. Thats where it crosses over into design and art. and then the barriers or the definitions fall apart because it’s about the highest level of making.– Daniel Charny, professor of design, Kingston University

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Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

Guild members have been invited to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival taking place September 5 through the 8th, 2013

What if a bunch of us got together to attend this?  Road Trip, anyone?

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Timber Frame Construction Presentation

Come Join the Helena Woodworkers Guild for an opportunity to learn about timber framing from a master!



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How many of our woodworkers have woodworking “genes” running in their families? Judging from the photos in this article, it’s obvious guild member Dave Carlson’s woodworking talents have been passed on. Dave’s son, Scott Carlson, an accomplished timber framer from Ohio, will give a Power Point program on timber frame construction, history and techniques while he is in Helena visiting his family.

Scott’s presentation will be June 30, 2008 at 7:00 pm in the large meeting room of the Lewis & Clark Library (left.)

Please join us — looks like it will be fun, inspiring and educational.

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Scott, a professional timber framer from Ohio, owns his own timber framing business which specializes in traditionally hand crafted timber frames for homes, public buildings, barns and out buildings. Scott’s business website is Sweetgrass Joinery.

Here are a few more examples of Scott Carlson‘s work to get you excited about attending his timber frame presentation on June 30:


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How to Grow as a Woodworker: Invite a Critique

Our Guild had the pleasure and honor of being critiqued by three excellent commentators Tuesday evening, November 12. The three “jurors” this year were Liz Gans, co-director of the Holter Museum of Art, Janeen McCarvel, interior designer at Boxwoods, and Richard Notkin, a ceramics sculptor and former resident of the Archie Bray Foundation. Liz, Janeen and Richard shared their personal responses to the variety of functional and art objects crafted by our woodworkers.

This is the second year we have had a critique during the run of our woodworking exhibit, and it was again educational and inspiring to hear from three very different people who are all so knowledgeable in their fields.

Richard Notkin asked of the group, “How do you challenge yourselves?” I am not a woodworker, though I feel blessed to be married to a woodworker. Even so, I really resonated with Richard’s question because I make a living as a designer and artist, and that’s something I ask myself constantly. How not to become stale with my designs and my artwork? For me, being the recipient of a critique has been something of a challenge most of my life. It ain’t always easy to be open to criticism, even if the criticism is constructive. If you really put your heart into your work, you are personally invested in it. And it’s easy to take a critique too personally.

So …. I would say in some ways, the members of the guild who attended Tuesday night’s critique were challenging themselves. And hopefully everyone took away something positive from the critique — perhaps more self confidence, a renewed commitment to growth in your work, or maybe an affirmation that your woodworking is going in a good direction.

I hope the guild continues to invite critique as a regular part of our annual exhibits and as a way to challenge ourselves to look critically at our own artistic growth.

all photos Copyright © 2007 by Maureen Shaughnessy

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