As the summer turns to fall and all the chores stack up before winter I've had little time to write about anything. That doesn't mean I'm not thinking though. I've had time to reflect on apprenticeship system of yesterday and today. What would it look like or is it even worth it in this day and age? More on that later.
I've been turning bowls every week for awhile now as well as carving a few spoons here and there. Sometimes is tough to crack the whip on yourself, but that's the way it is being self employed. It's probably one of the hardest things that I'm still learning to do. I'm turning some to the best bowls I've ever made and this is exciting. It will be interesting to compare this to ones I turn in another few years. Always learning, always trying to improve something.
Last week I traveled up to North House to teach a 4 days spoon carving class with Fred Livesay. 2 days for beginners and 2 days for advanced. It's always fun and we all learn something from each other from carving techniques to the stuff that makes up life. That's the beauty of the folks school. It's mission is to build community through crafts...not the other way around. So it's important to remember that it's not always about the project at hand. The evenings are always filled with folks visiting and working on projects, visiting with each other, making new friends and catching up with old ones.
I got to explore a bit on some things to use in my class in the spring. This class will focus on improving technique and knife skills through repetition and intense practice. In this class we will focus on chopsticks and small stirring or demitasse spoons. We will be carving lot's of them! Have you ever carved a chopstick? It's not easy to make a really nice pair the same size and with nice even smooth tapers. It takes complete command of the knife. Try it.
I've been putting more time into setting up the Greenwood Spooncarvers Collectives' website, doing time trials on the 3 models we will be carving, setting up efficient ways for the members to communicate with each other. With the time trials, I'm recording the time it takes to carve a small pile of spoons, starting with a section of birch log, splitting, axing, and then carving. With the spoon mule and the new skavare I can make pretty good time on the spoons, making it very possible to make pretty good money carving spoons within the production style of carving. We have a few folks that are accepted into the collective and they are carving and improving as well. It's exciting. I'm looking to launch the website on Dec 1st as well as setting up the first sales. Slowly but surely...
With that, I have a 2 inspiring video for you folks. These have been around and around on the internet for many years but they are still worth watching at least ever year. As we gain more experience there is always more details to catch in the subtle movements of these masters.