As you can tell from the last post, I am in a state of flux; many things about to begin. First, I finish up at Plimoth, then on to a slew of ideas. Make a bowl-lathe. finish the hewn bowls. clean up parts of this house so I can work here some. Take the kids on a whale watch. some work for MLB Restoration, aka the Blue Oak guys. Those are some priorities, not necessarily in order. And I have a bunch of blog posts unwritten. Let’s try this one.

Every time I attend some woodworking event in the US , it’s principally a bunch of old men. In flannel shirts. Mostly. We have been seeing some young guys coming along. So it was a gas & a half to meet Jojo Wood when I was at North House Folk School a few weeks ago. She’s a double-whammy – a young woman woodworker. And what spoons! Robin Wood had written on his blog “her spoons are better than mine” – and I assumed a father’s pride in his child’s work, but then I saw her spoons in real life. very nice stuff.

jojo spoons

inspiration 5

She’s grown up around green woodworking of one sort or another; mostly her bowl-turning father, but somewhere there’s a photo of Jojo & her brother learning knife work from Wille Sundqvist when they were quite young. (HA! swiped it from Robin’s blog)

Jojo pre-dreads

Jojo told me that when the first spoonfest happened in Edale, she noted the lack of women instructors; and began to concentrate seriously on her spoon carving. I jumped at the chance to learn her technique for carving a “crank” as she calls it, into a straight blank. Very organized, logical approach. Blows my doors off. Jojo told me she’s been lucky to have met all the great spoon carvers of today, without really having to leave home – through the spoonfest events and otherwise through connections w Robin.

jojo hews

Well, I think luck had something to do with it, but practice, skill and a good eye made it happen for her too. She’s been up in Wisconsin & Minnesota feeding mosquitoes for a few weeks, but I hope when she’s back home she’ll add stuff to her blog …

http://jojospoons.blogspot.co.uk/

Jojo's spoon

Nice going Jojo, I look forward to when we meet again…

 

 

 

One day a visitor to the museum asked me “How long have you had the greatest job in the world?”

overall view

overall view

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…”

sixteenths red oak

sixteenths red oak

 

Some time ago, I heard of some films recording Bill Coperthwaite at his home in Dickinsons Reach, Machiasport, ME. I got a hold of the filmaker, Anna Grimshaw and we corresponded a little bit. I wrote to her the other day, and found out that her films got picked up by Berkeley Media; a distributor of educational films. Here’s some of Anna’s note from today:

“I have just signed a distribution agreement with Berkeley Media that means that they now have all the rights to the material.   I had hoped to find a distributor that would make DVDs available to individuals at a reasonable cost.  I was unsuccessful, despite sending the work out quite widely to a range of non-profit/educational distributors.

Berkeley Media was very keen to have the work.  They largely supply educational institutions — hence their prices are high but individuals and organizations can apply for a discount on purchases.  It seemed important to me that the films about Bill be properly archived and distributed, so despite the restrictions and pricing, I decided Berkeley Media was my best bet.”

I just searched Berkeley Media’s website, but didn’t find the films. Maybe they’re not added yet…I’ve seen them, they follow Bill through the seasons at Dickinson’s Reach. Good stuff.

Anna kindly sent me the link to a “leftover” film, of Bill working on a chair he’s made. It’s not an action feature; no car chase, little suspense, etc. Nor is it a how-to, or a documentary. It is really a snapshot of Bill at work, tinkering around in his shop. When I know more about the other films, I’ll let you know. I really appreciate Anna making this available to us, and am grateful that she spent all that time recording Bill. If it asks you for a password – it’s Coperthwaite

 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90636532″>A Chair- in six parts</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/annagrimshaw”>Anna Grimshaw</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This “green woodworking” arena is pretty small of course. While I was at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN I was reminded of a few peripheral connections I had to the place. Jogge Sundqvist has taught there a few times; Roger Abrahamson had one of Jogge’s knife/sheath creations, and he let me take some photos…

jogge knife & sheath

I mentioned the other day that I had met Roger before, and we have some mutual friends as well. One other small connection was Bill Coperthwaite. Bill taught out at North House before.

Bill Coperthwaite

Bill Coperthwaite

While we were talking, some folks asked if I knew what was going to happen to Bill’s place, Dickinson’s Reach. I said I didn’t, but I had forgotten that there were memorial services happening maybe right at the same time we were making bowls. When I got back, I had a nice email from Peter Lamb. Peter said they had over 300 people out at Dickinson’s Reach, including some from Malaysia, China & Japan. He sent along this short obit for Bill. I’ll keep the blog readers abreast of anything I hear about how folks are going to help steward Bill’s legacy. Thanks to Peter Lamb for sending this along.

Obituary for William S Coperthwaite

 

For decades I have worked wood surrounded by people – dozens, scores, hundreds, thousands of people. But in one sense, I work wood primarily in isolation. All these people were visitors to the museum, so watching me work. In many cases, I met woodworkers of all stripes, but it was very hit-or-miss.  I just finished my most recent stint as a student, rather than instructor, this time in Robin Wood’s bowl turning class at the North house Folk school. This is the sort of inspiring time I remember back when I was a regular student in classes, mostly at Drew Langsner’s Country Workshops – to be surrounded by people who’ve come from all over, to concentrate on learning, sharing and exploring aspects of hand-tool woodworking. What a time! North House Folk School has a great reputation, for good reason. Excellent facility, setting, people, and offerings. Look at the range of classes… http://www.northhouse.org/

 

 

I knew it was going to be great to meet Robin and learn of the bowl turning work he’s been practicing all these years. But there was way more to it than that. First of all, Jarrod Stonedahl helped organize  and execute the class. He and Roger Abrahamson built the lathes for example. (links: http://www.rogerabrahamson.com/index.html and http://woodspiritgallery.com/ )
But it was the whole scene that served to keep us occupied.  Birch was the standard timber available up there, but Jarrod could not let the bark just be hewn away, so -quick – a lesson in harvesting birch bark. Later he showed me how to cut the arrow-lock/finger joints that he uses in his “boxes” – one of which we’ve had at home for quite some time.

 

Roger has been a pole-lathe bowl turner himself for many years, and had once visited my shop at Plimoth. He made a couple of bowls, traipsed around the shop helping people and generally sharing his skills. same with Jarrod.

 

But of course, Robin was the show – his teaching style is just what you’d expect, based on the writings on his blog. Extremely knowledgeable, patient, and helpful. His English was pretty good too. Axe work, bowl turning, tool making, bowl design, history – we covered a lot of ground.

An added bonus was the spoons there – I brought a couple but really the star there was far and away the youngster Jojo Wood. More on that later.

The facility was excellent – windows on three sides looking out to Lake Superior. It was a pretty big lake. I didn’t really have the time or the money for this class, but had decided that I have let a few opportunities go by in recent years, and this one I drew the line. I’m glad I did.

Here’s some photos – If I tell you all about it, I’ll be here all night. I’ll use captions. 

 

grand marais harbor

socked in fog, first 3 days. 

 

robin turning

Robin shows us how it’s done

 

robin turning 3

Robin turning

 

class at work

we get at it, Jojo hews spoons

 

lathe

simple lathe

 

lathe 2

tool rest view

inspiration 1

inspiration was everywhere

inspiration 2

detail of Robin’s bowl

inspiration 3

beech bowl

first or second

my chamfer is OK

inside bowl

Robin hollowing

inspiration 4

an old one Roger brought to show us

roger

Roger said it felt like work, but he does it w ease

jarrod

after helping people all day, Jarrod couldn’t wait to make a bowl

jarrod peels fast

Jarrod peels bark fast

jarrod peels fast 2

This was too thick, but I’d never seen it done before

 

 

birch work

a sample Jarrod showed me on

sunshine

sun came out day 4

sunshine 2

the big lake they call….

inspiration 6

This looks like one of Jarrod’s

banjo gig

Jarrod, Jeremy, and Roger on banjo

jojo hews

Jojo 10 spoons a week

 

 

 

Sunday is the first day of bowl-turning class with Robin Wood – but I have been hewing bowls lately.

row of bowls

I have only ever made these one-at-a-time, and then usually years between versions. Right now, I am working on a batch of about 6 or 8 of them. One thing I miss is having room to really photograph some of the process, and a store of scrap wood to shim, wedge & otherwise cobble stuff in place. Had to use a carved rail to shim the underside of this bowl while I shaved the end grain.

clamping

Some of them are the “upside-down” orientation. I have most of these ready for drying, so I plan on finishing them later in June. But by then, my head will be filled with the possibilities of turned bowls and wh0-knows-what-else from my trip to the North House Folk School. http://www.northhouse.org/ 

Exciting times.

 

upside down

I have known Drew Langsner for 34 years and he’s been making these longer than that. Here is a link to the Country Workshops site, with Drew’s article about how he works these bowls. http://countryworkshops.org/Carving%20Large%20Bowls.html

And don’t forget the youtube site Country Workshops has with the Bengt Lidstrom video 

spoons PF

Today’s listing of spoons are up & running. I’ll be away from my desk, as they say. So I’ll sort out what’s what tonight. Just leave a comment citing which spoon(s) you’d like. Shipping in US is $7 per order, not per spoon. Paypal or check.

thanks once again by all your support. It really astounds me & I appreciate it.

Link is here   http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-may-2014/  or from the menu at the top of the blog.

PF

 

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