Some thoughts and interspersed photos from my week at North House Folk School.
Clearly North House Folk School is doing something right. Over 350 classes & 3,000 students per year? It makes my head swim. I just got back from a week-plus there – If you’ve not heard of them, their website is great. Be sure to watch the 10-minute film about the school. https://northhouse.org/
The event was called “Wood Week” – two 3-day sessions, with an in-between day of demonstrations, films, and the legendary pizza night. I didn’t take any useful photos to give you an idea of the scope of the event. There were so many courses, including mine – and I didn’t get to peek into more than just one or two. I’ll just cop out & copy the info from their website about the offerings:
“Choose from a dozen courses, including returning favorites in bowl carving with Jon Strom, spoon carving with Fred Livesay and Mike Loeffler, Krympburkar: Scandanavian-Style Shrink Boxes with Paul Linden & Jim Sannerud, and figure carving with Harley Refsal. Or, try something new with Bruce Futterer (Carving Facial Detail), Liesl Chatman (Kolrosing), or Jock Holmen (Dragon Head Carving).”
The view outside the shop where I was teaching:
A setting that is out of this world – out of mine, anyway. The lake there is so nice they call it Superior. The tide never goes out. The town of Grand Marais is quite nice too. Small, friendly, nice place for walking.
One piece that I especially liked was the evening presentations by several craftspeople, none of whom had grey hair. Lots of young people around North House, delving deeply into crafts of many kinds. We heard from Mike Loeffler and Mary Beth Garmoe about time they both spent in Sweden & Norway as part of an Artisan Development Program run by North House. Two years at North House, culminating in a several-weeks-long trip through some of Scandinavia, working and studying with various artisans. What an experience for these people.
During the week we also saw demonstrations by Dawson Moore and Rose Holdorf – Dawson’s about the spoon mule he’s developed, following some initial input from Jarrod. Rose showed us methods she uses for making a post & rung stool. She managed to get the whole thing built in just an hour, having the parts made up ahead of time. The third presentation in this lineup was Angela Robbins showing how she hews a bowl with an axe and adze. Like Mike and Mary Beth, Angela was an ADP recipient.
Here’s Rose carving in one of my classes –
I didn’t get photos of the pizza night – I’d guess 100-130 pizzas baked in the wood-fired oven on Friday night. Friday was called the “carver’s conference” and it consisted of all of the instructors demonstrating for the day. The students who had been in the first session were welcomed to stay over and see what they missed in other classes; and the incoming students likewise were welcome to come in early. After the pizza party, I gave a talk about three of the people who were either teachers of mine, (Jennie Alexander and Daniel O’Hagan) or inspiration (Bill Coperthwaite) – my talk was well-received – people were kind to sit through something that was a little different than my usual woodsy lecture.
Among the instructors in the 2nd go-round was Alex Yerks – and he & I were trying to remember if we’d ever seen each other in this country. We think not. We first met in England, and then in Australia. So this was our first US gig maybe. One other highlight – Liesl Chatman and her partner Erin gave a riveting presentation about their frequent travels in New Zealand. It was a moving talk.
Lots of things like this in the ceiling – I think they catch the dust and keep it off the benches.
A sunrise – the time changed while I was out there, so I caught a sunrise by accident.
This sod-roof timber frame must have been a class at some point. Everyone gets lots of photos of it…including me.
This is blog post #1,234 for me. That’s a lot of words and pictures over the years. More on that thought another time.
There were a lot of links for this post – I moved most of them here:
The North House blog – https://northhouse.org/blog
The Artisan Development Program https://northhouse.org/get-involved/artisan-development-program
Dawson Moore’s Spoon Mule plans – https://www.michigansloyd.com/products/spoon-mule-plans
Alex Yerks’ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/alex_yerks/?hl=en
Liesl Chatman’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rivchicawarrior/?hl=en