Plymouth CRAFT’s weekend of spoons & bowls

It’s taken me a while, but here’s my post about Plymouth CRAFT’s recent weekend of woodworking. We had JoJo Wood back for her Pocket Spoon class; and Darrick Sanderson came back to help folks dive into bowl turning on pole (really bungee) lathes. That’s JoJo’s students above, deep in concentration, also following the sunshine as the day went on.

If Plymouth CRAFT had a spiritual home, it would be Overbrook House. http://www.overbrookhouse.com/  It was here that we had our first workshops, and we’ve returned many times. In real life, it’s a wedding venue & more, but we turn it into something altogether different. The Ingersolls, our tolerant hosts there, are the greatest. The students know they’re close when they see this sign by our board member David Berman http://trustworth.com/index.shtml

It points them up to the house; which is the center of our world there. Paula’s lunches happen here…

All right, back to the woodsy bits. JoJo’s pocket spoon is a revolution in the making. Go read what JoJo says about it, I don’t need to repeat all that. She started the whole idea of pocket spoons, as I recall…  https://pocketspoon.co.uk/

Here, she’s showing (at my request) the 7 blanks she just split out of this one quarter section of black birch. She squeezes out a lot of spoons from a small section of wood.

Hewing the shape with her hatchet.

A new pocket spoon in the making.

Meanwhile, down at the dance hall, the bowl turners were hewing out blanks

Darrick Sanderson showing them how to rough-turn the outside of the bowl.

A shot showing the hook as Darrick comes up toward the bowl’s rim.

We (well, Pret really – I had nothing to do with it) recently adapted our 8 lathes so they could work without a pole. Two uprights are dropped into mortises in the bed, then heavy-duty bungee strapped between them. The lathes worked very well, and the students worked very hard. Two full days of kicking that treadle is no joke.

Our friend Marie Pelletier always shoots photos at our events, and they end up here: https://www.facebook.com/PlymouthCRAFT/

Upcoming classes in October

Last week we announced a couple short-notice classes with Plymouth CRAFT. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/events

The lineup is Pocket Spoons with JoJo Wood and Bowl Turning with Darrick Sanderson. Two great instructors, one weekend, fabulous venue – October 5 & 6, 2019 at Overbrook House, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

JoJo Wood returns for 2 days of spoon carving. JoJo is a great teacher, and has spent a tremendous amount of time perfecting her techniques in carving. Noted for clear, distinct facets and beautiful shapes, her spoons are easily picked out of a crowd. She was here in June to teach two classes and those went over very well. This class will focus on her “pocket spoon” – it’s a social movement – you make great spoons and improve the planet at the same time.

Pocket Spoon

There’s still room in this class, so you can sign up now. October is coming soon. At some point, she’ll get sick of that trans-Atlantic flight and we won’t see her as much. Get it while you can.

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Darrick’s class is essentially sold out – (there’s a waiting list) EXCEPT – we’ve kept a spot in both Darrick’s and JoJo’s for a scholarship applicant. Maybe we’ve been too quiet about this, but here’s the story, clipped from our website:

“We get it that registration fees can be a stretch for plenty of people. A community conversation about how to foster broader, more diverse, participation in green woodworking began at Greenwood Fest 2018 and is still ongoing; many present last June made donations to support that goal. Since then we at CRAFT have been trying to figure out the best way to extend the largesse of those generous folks who can afford it to those who cannot.”

Our audience has responded very well to our request for help in offering these scholarships, for which we are grateful.

Read about it here: https://www.plymouthcraft.org/craft-green-woodworking-sch

At the bottom of that page are two buttons – one for “apply” and one for “donate”

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My own classes – I have two left for this year that have space. Both at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. One’s a 2-day class in carving oak patterns; Sept 28 & 29;  https://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/class-schedule/29-speciality-weekend-classes/626-carving-in-the-17th-century-style-with-peter-follansbee-2.html

carvings for new chest

the other is a 5-day class in making (& carving) an oak box with a pine lid; October 12-16.

https://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/class-schedule/37-week-long-classes/635-make-a-carved-oak-box-with-peter-follansbee.html

 

 

Greenwood Fest 2018 Instructor Robin Wood

Back in 2008 I started this blog; being inspired by a blog I read regularly then – that of Robin Wood. Sometime in the early/mid 1990s, my friend Ned Cooke sent me this postcard, showing Robin Wood turning a huge nest of bowls in beech on his pole lathe. I tacked it up in my workshop and it’s been there ever since. Even made the move to my new shop…

I had heard about Robin’s work and somewhere along the line Jennie Alexander traded letters back & forth with him back then. For a while there was a very active forum on the web called the Bodgers’ Ask and Answer forum. (it’s still there, going back quite a ways with lots of information. Some of it is quite good. https://www.bodgers.org.uk/BB/ ) Robin was a regular contributor there, and that’s where he & I started talking directly to each other. I can’t remember if I found his blog through the forum or vice-versa. Doesn’t matter now.

What matters to me is that Robin is perhaps THE person responsible for reviving the craft of turning wooden bowls on a pole lathe, using hook tools. Right now there are lots of people taking up this work – and I hope they recognize Robin’s contribution to its revival. (Somewhere in those years, I first met Roger Abrahamson http://www.rogerabrahamson.com/index.html when he appeared at my shop & introduced himself. His work parallels some of Robin’s very well. Roger is another story someday.)

We finally met in 2014, when I was a student in his first course at North House Folk School. (met Jarrod & JoJo there at the same time – 3 birds, one stone).  With Barn the Spoon, Robin started another inspiration of ours – Spoonfest https://spoonfest.co.uk/ and that’s where he & I next met up. He’d invited me a couple of times and I begged off due to scheduling problems. Then in 2016 I decided I’d better go before the invites dried up.  

I’m thrilled that Robin is coming to Greenwood Fest. He’ll be teaching a 2-day class in bowl turning on a pole lathe, with hook tools. Then during the fest, we’ll have him in various capacities; these days much of his time is spent making tools for spoon carving. We’re still working out the details of some aspects of the schedule. One piece we have planned with him is a slide talk/presentation about his various green woodworking exploits over the years. Worth seeing.

Robin Wood’s bowl

One of the hardest parts of Greenwood Fest planning for us is the instructor roster. Because our venue has a limit on the number of people allowed, the size of the Fest will not grow. And because we love all our instructors equally – it becomes difficult to work in new ones. To make space for Robin, Jarrod Dahl has kindly agreed to shift from Greenwood Fest this year to a course with Plymouth CRAFT later in the season – early to mid-September. BUT Jarrod & Jazmin plan on attending the Fest, so if you see Jarrod there, take it easy on him with the questions, it’s his vacation!

Greenwood Fest will be held in Plymouth Massachusetts June 5-10, 2018. Those dates include the pre-fest courses. Tickets on sale starting February 2, 2018  https://www.greenwoodfest.org/

 

Greenwood Fest Instructor: Darrick Sanderson

Rick McKee would be ashamed as I mix sports metaphors, by referring to a pinch-hitting hockey player – but last summer Darrick/Derek Sanderson stepped up as a pinch hitter at Greenwood Fest and knocked it out of the park. Off the ice? I’ll shut up now & get on with it.

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In addition to turning bowls on the pole lathe, Derek is a spoon carving phenom. I heard recently (I forget where) that there are days when he hardly carves any spoons. Just 4 or 5. A good week’s output for me! In April 2016, Jarrod wrote about a visit out to Derek’s place, where he saw the entire arc of Derek’s spoon carving –  “Over the 4 years Derek has been carving spoons, he’s made about 1400 of them.  He’s saved nearly all of them.” That’s a staggering number of spoons!

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Derek will be manning the pole lathe part of the time, just like he did last year; turning bowls, teaching, explaining techniques – I remember it seemed as if he woke up and started woodworking in the next breath. Always with a crowd around him. So we’re quite pleased to bring him back this season.

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Derek’s Instagram is here: https://www.instagram.com/dcsandersoninc/

Greenwood Fest Instructor: Jarrod Dahl

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Few green-woodworkers have as many miles as Jarrod lately. His bowl turning, spoon carving and knife work are some of the most engrossing things happening in what he calls the Wood Culture Renaissance. I was with Jarrod last year at all three of the carving festivals I went to; Greenwood Fest, Spoonfest and Taljfest. He kept things hopping at all events.

Jarrod’s output and the quality of his work are both excellent. I have some of his bowls, a couple of his birch bark canisters, and a spoon. They’re great. I saw his students last year at Spoonfest achieve excellent results in a short time. Jarrod has a very methodical approach, stemming from his interest in production spoon-carving.

But it’s his turning that really sets him apart – he’s one of just a few turners who make one-piece handled drinking cups on the lathe. He’s been teaching it, and writing about it on his blog and Instagram – so now there’s more doing that work than when he started down that path…

Jarrod will be teaching a 2-day class in pole-lathe bowl turning with hook tools. This is a large undertaking for us at Plymouth CRAFT, we’ll be building some lathes ahead of time to be equipped for the event. (and for Jarrod, he’ll be making the tools!) This class will be limited to 8 people – so a chance to really get a great foundation for bowl turning. During the festival he’s doing short sessions with people to get the basics of the tools and shapes. But I’m sure there’ll be time for some spoon carving/knife work too.

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jarrod's coffee

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Jarrod’s Instagram page is here https://www.instagram.com/jarrod__dahl/  – he’s cut his beard! I hope he still has his strength…

Greenwood Fest registration opens tomorrow, Wednesday Jan 4th, at 10 am, eastern time. http://www.greenwoodfest.org/

 

Greenwood Fest 2016 instructor profile, Jarrod Stone Dahl

Another in a series of instructor profiles for Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest 2016. Dates are June 10-12, 2016 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Details in the next few weeks, we’ll announce registration with plenty of notice here, at http://plymouthcraft.org/ and facebook, etc…

jarrod

This instructor announcement wasn’t hard – Jarrod Stone Dahl will indeed be travelling with his wife April. So we get a one-two punch. It’s hard to miss Jarrod’s work if you’ve been following the trajectory of “green woodworking” in recent years. He’s someone who is dedicated to making functional and beautiful spoons, bowls, birch-bark work (anyone need a canoe?) and more. Jarrod & I have corresponded for years, but finally got to meet up last spring when I made a short trip out to North House Folk School, where he is a regular instructor. One of the most appealing aspects of his work for me is his philosophy about handcrafts and their place in our lives. See his post about Spoon-a-geddon on his blog for example.

some blurb:

“Jarrod has been working with wood and birch bark professionally since 1996. He and his wife April both make and sell their handcrafts for a living through their business Woodspirit. http://woodspirithandcraft.com/

He teaches workshops across the country and internationally. Over the years he has gained extensive knowledge and experience while making birch bark baskets, birch bark boxes, wooden spoons and bowls, as well as cradle boards, birch bark canoes, snowshoes and toboggans.

His main focus is woodturning using only a foot powered lathe and carving spoons with axe and knife. He has spent time in museum archives in the US, Sweden and the UK, studying and researching older work which is a very influential part of his inspiration as a craftsperson. Jarrod brings extensive knowledge of harvesting natural materials, the use of hand tools, and a deeper philosophical, historical and pragmatic approach to handcrafts to his work and his workshops.”

Jarrod has been a part of Spoonfest in the UK and Täljfest in Sweden. I’m very excited to have both Jarrod and April out east here for Greenwood Fest. All the photos here are by Jarrod Stone Dahl, of his work. 

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Greenwood Fest, June 2016 instructor Owen Thomas

As our Plymouth CRAFT group work away at organizing the Greenwood Fest 2016, I have another instructor profile for you. (here’s the previous one on Dave Fisher https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/greenwood-fest-june-2016-instructor-intro/ )

Bowl turning is a huge part of woodworking and there’s lots of ways to do it, but my favorite approach is with green wood, a pole lathe and hook tools. I have dabbled in it for years, following the work of Robin Wood in the UK and Roger Abrahamson here in the US. But for Greenwood Fest, we’ve got someone who really knows it. We are excited to have a great bowl turner from England, Owen Thomas, come join us. Owen & I not yet met, but have several mutual friends and I’ve been watching Owen’s work on the web for quite a while.

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Here’s his blurb

“Owen has been a woodworking professional for the past 10 years. Around 6 years ago, he discovered the world of green woodworking and pole lathe turning. Since then, he has applied himself to building his skills and improving his knowledge and techniques. He is now one of the small handful of professional pole lathe bowl turners in the UK and one of the only turners in the world to use the nesting technique on the pole lathe. Aside from producing bowls and spoons for sale, he regularly demonstrates and teaches at woodworking events, including the annual Spoonfest in the UK.”  and his website here  www.owenthomaswoodcraft.com and https://instagram.com/owenthomaswoodcraft/

I grabbed another piece off his website:

“I have been lucky to have worked with and learned from some of the renowned masters of woodworking in the world. On my journey I have lived in Mike Abbotts chair making workshop, apprenticed with Barn The Spoon at a spoon carving shop in London and learned to make my own tools from Robin Wood in a workshop on the Pennine Way.”

One thing in particular about Owen’s work is his nests of bowls. These are a set that he cuts from one large blank. Rather than turn the whole interior into shavings, he cuts a successively smaller bowls from the inside of a larger bowl. This might not seem like much, but think about this – he’s using a bent tool to go in and cut the outside of one, and the inside of the larger bowl, which means much of the time he can’t see what’s happening. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be able to see what I’m cutting when I work wood. He also makes beautiful spoons. He’ll be doing some bowl turning and hopefully some forging of the specialized hook tools he uses. And I bet he’ll carve a spoon or two. How can he resist?

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Image of Breakfast Bowl

Image of Dolphin Spoon

here’s a feature about his work, note the bird songs as he works away at his lathe. No wonder I like him!

Here’s the Plymouth CRAFT site, we’ll have some details about Greenwood Fest before too long. It will all be announced here, there & everywhere. http://plymouthcraft.org/