One day a visitor to the museum asked me “How long have you had the greatest job in the world?”
Certainly that’s a pretty accurate assessment. For a woodworker, my day job has been a blast. For the past 20 years, I’ve gone to work, got set up in my shop, and made stuff. All that was required of me was to talk to people about what I am doing. Did you ever meet a woodworker who doesn’t like to tell people about their projects?
But now it’s time for me to hang it up. I decided a while ago to leave Plimoth Plantation so I can concentrate on a range of wood-working that falls outside the guidelines of 17th-century English furniture. That work continues to fascinate me, but I’ve been drawn in several different directions in recent years, some re-visits of work I have done before (baskets, spoons, bowls) some new areas I hope to explore. A book to finish, for example. And other stuff.
I still don’t know where i’ll set up my tools next. For now I have a bench here at the house, and one tool chest. My spoons & stuff I can do out in the yard, down by the river. Or in the kitchen, except for the hewing. I’m not rushing into a work-space; I hope to find the right spot before long though. The blog ought to get more active again. Right now my teaching schedule is pretty well booked for 2014, but I might add some stuff to it. I’m going to be continuing to post things for sale, (maybe move it to an etsy site) because I still need to create income… so if you need some woodsy handicrafts, or lectures/demos, etc. – here I am.
My years at Plimoth have been astounding. I met people from all over; made great friends, even got a wife. Made connections that hopefully will stay with me for many years. I can’t begin to list all the highlights, among them were three great trips to England as part of my research, poked around in museums there & here in the US, and talked, talked, & talked some more. I learned more than you can imagine, from working day in & day out, from co-workers, and from visitors. The stooped-over Romanian carver who used 7 mallets of different weights, Mark & Jane Rees showed up un-announced one day when I was making tools, the Brazilian man who cried because my shop looked just like his father’s of 50 years ago, the time Pret used his axe to cut Paula’s hair on the chopping block, the Amish man who knew Daniel O’Hagan. I have a million stories. So my thanks to all my friends & visitors past & present at Plimoth. It was great.
Whenever I travel to teach, (or as I did just recently, as a student) folks from all over who read this blog often mention seeing me at the museum, or wanting to come visit. Just in case you’re making travel plans along those lines, here’s notice – my last day is June 27th. After that, I’ll be like most other woodworkers, laboring away – head down, alone, & silent. If I get lonely, I’ll work in the front yard, and talk to passing cars… “It’s oak, I’ve split if from a log…”