I’ve been finishing up some stuff in the shop, pegging the slats in this hickory ladderback chair this afternoon. It’s nearly impossible for me to work on projects like this one & not think of my friend Drew Langsner. I sound like a broken record over the years, but Drew and his wife Louise changed my life.
Many others too I’m sure. 2020 has not been a good year for anyone, or if it has, they had best keep quiet about it. For Drew, it featured a long medical hassle that he’d just come through when two weeks ago as a coda he had emergency bypass surgery. I spoke to him the other day, and he was happy to be home after his time in the hospital. He had great praise for the staff at the Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. – and was relating to me all the new challenges; (“if your butt goes down, your feet come up” is the new mantra). Finding a flat place to walk around their farm is the trick now…
If you’re not familiar with Drew’s work; it’s a long story, but from about 1977 onward for 40 years, he & Louise ran a hand-tool woodworking school on their place in western North Carolina. Starting with just a few week-long classes in the summer, eventually they added workshops year-round. Chair-making, basketry, timber framing, spoon & bowl carving, Japanese woodworking tools, and on & on. If you carve spoons in slojd/sloyd style in America – it’s because of them, whether you know it or not. I’ve written about their place a number of times over the years – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=country+workshops
He’s written several books, the first one I saw was Country Woodcraft back in 1978. Lost Art Press is working on the new edition of that book, slated to come out this year. I’ll be sure to post a notice when it’s available. Back at Greenwood Fest #2 in 2017, we were lucky enough to be able to host Drew & Louise as a way of honoring their enduring contribution to our craft. This is a group photo from our Greenwood Fest of folks who had been to Country Workshops at some point over the years…
It was a highlight for me to be able to include them that way in that event, after all they’ve done for me. They gave a talk there about the 40-year history of their school Country Workshops. It was great to view those old, and not-so-old, photos, but few have Drew in them…someone sent me this one of Drew from that visit in Plymouth in 2017.
So, now Drew is hanging around the house recuperating from heart surgery. I know he reads this blog, so if you’d like to leave a comment for him here, I’ll be sure he sees them. Even better though – if you’d like to send a card or a note in the US mail – they’ll make their way out to the mailbox at some point…that address is
775 Black Pine Ridge Rd
Marshall, N.C. 28753
All right, let’s send some healing best wishes down to that mountain…