Plymouth CRAFT

At the end of last June, I left my job at Plimoth Plantation. I had been there 20 years, and it was quite a scene for much of that time. I miss having an audience (“sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me…”) and I miss having a shop that’s 16’ x 30’. But a big part of what appealed to me there was my co-workers. We had quite a crew of talent, ideas, execution – it was a very creative place. Over the years, one by one, sometimes in larger clumps, folks left the museum. Finally it was my turn, and things on the outside are great. I get to teach workshops at some of the best woodworking schools going – Roy’s place, Bob Van Dyke’s, formerly at Country Workshops = and beyond.

hewing crook

I was glad to be on my own – no rules, no bosses. Then  – an opportunity to join a new non-profit? Out of the frying pan, into the fire? Nah, I jumped at the chance to be involved in Plymouth CRAFT. (Center for Restoration Arts and Forgotten Trades) It’s not a woodworking school, it doesn’t exist in space, and it’s still in its infancy. But it’s peopled with many of the craftsmen & women that I worked with at Plimoth. Having been with these people day in and day out, I tend to take them for granted; but their talents are extraordinary. This coming weekend we have several things going on at once –

My spoon carving class has 2 openings, semi-last minute. (my last 2 spoon class openings in the lower 48) If you can make it, I’ll show you how to use an axe, and two knives to make wooden spoons that hopefully will change the way you look at life.

Then there’s Denise Lebica’s knitting workshops – I and II. Denise worked in the wardrobe department there for decades; she knows her way around fibers. She & I worked side-by-side for several years, she knows all my jokes by heart.


Paula Marcoux’s exploits are too many for me to go into, but her gig at Plymouth CRAFT is all-around top-to-bottom whirlwind. In addition to helping us all get going there at Overbrook House this weekend, after she makes us a lunch that has to be experienced to be believed, Paula will be teaching her class Sausage, Scrapple & Lard –

and me – a vegetarian! The things I do for CRAFT


And if that’s not enough, Martha Sulya is now going to teach some lucky students how to make the Ukrainian decorated eggs that she has astounded us with for years.  If you have read this blog a while, you know I like patterns and decoration – these eggs got it in spades. Everyone who sees them is amazed. This is not some “small-craft-warning” this is the real thing.


Later this spring, Mark Atchison will teach a beginner’s blacksmithing class –  Mark’s work appears on this blog every time I show any iron I work with…his work is great. You won’t see me pounding iron, because I’ve been spoiled by Mark all these years.


We have more planned, me & Rick McKee (blue oak blog – ) will help students learn some of the intricacies of riving parts right from an oak log…  and other classes too. Sign up for the newsletter – Plymouth CRAFT will keep growing. Come join us, you’ll have quite a time. Part of what I like about it is the exposure I get to other crafts, and other craftsmen & women – you start to see all kinds of connections between and across the trades. And you’ll meet some people you might never forget. Fun stuff. There’s some new content on the CRAFT website, look it over when you get a chance.



13 thoughts on “Plymouth CRAFT

  1. I know the feeling. I am tying up my in school history presentations which I’ve done for 23 years, since 18.

    God closes one door and another opens. Invariably !

      • Yes, very true. I guess that it could be used to separate the posers. I will say that “Small Craft Warning” immediately brought to mind one of my favorite dramatist, Tennessee Williams play. It brought me back to my former career in the ‘biz’ as they say.

        It sure sounds like Plymouth Craft is a great place full of creativity at every turn. So congrats on that and hopefully I can find my way up there.

        Take care my friend,


  2. Sounds right up my alley. But unless I missed something, there was no button to sign up for a Plymouth Craft newsletter on their website yet. Thanks for the heads up – I’ll try again next week.

    • Wade – I have nothing in November yet. We’ll see about scheduling something then. I’ll talk to Paula. Sometimes hard to get students once we’re near the stupid holiday seasons.

  3. Peter, I’ve tried incorporating wood carving patterns on many occasions. The ones that transfer best are really low relief or scribed. I tried some “pigs playing bagpipes” from a misericord that did not do justice to the original work. I have a book from the PPL, “Hungarian Peasant Art” that I’ll bring on Sunday to show you.

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