Mostly this winter has looked like this in our neighborhood.
Then the other day, it looked like this:
Most winters I like it like that…but this winter I’ve been framing the workshop, so trying to get every outdoor day’s work I can. But it looks like for the next week, the shop will be covered up, thus:
After this storm the other day, I was able to uncover the work-site, and finished cutting the rafters we had laid out. But tonight I’ll cover it again, the prediction is for more snow for the next couple of days. I can’t complain, I’ve got pretty far, considering the season. And I love the look of the snow, and the quiet.
I got the download and have been watching it. April did a great job – I kept watching for the cuts – and there are several long shots, where she makes much of the basket in “real” time and talks us through the whole thing. It’s a great job – here’s the intro:
Last fall, Heather Neill was kind enough to hand-me-down her Nikon D300, so my D80 became a dedicated bird-shooting camera…(now I don’t switch lenses, which always led to dust on the sensor..) – but that means I hardly ever load the photos from that camera to the machine here. today, I got a backlog of pictures sifted & sorted. Here’s some from the past month:
Plymouth CRAFT is now a year old. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/ It’s an organization with which I’m thrilled to be involved. After a great first year, 2016 looks to be even better. As you have read here, Greenwood Fest in June will be a memorable event. I’ve been working with Paula Marcoux as we coax all the instructors for details about their sessions. We’re close to the point now where Paula & I have to sit and figure out who does what where & when.
In the meantime, Paula took the chicken way out and booked two workshops that happen after the festival. We had wanted to pursue having the instructors stay a few extra days and teach in-depth classes – but the hardest part was deciding how much of that we could do, then who to tap. It being our first venture, we decided to have just 2 classes – that’s enough for now. These classes will be held at the Pinewoods camp where the Greenwood Fest is happening. Dates are Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 & 15. Tomorrow registration will open for these small classes – one with JoJo Wood and one with Jögge Sundqvist.
JoJo will explore the finer points of spoon design, concentrating on the most demanding spoon, the eating spoon. I spent about 20 minutes carving with JoJo once and it changed the way I approach things. This class will be small, 10 students. And it will push you in ways you can’t fathom.
Jögge has a treat in store, making a distaff…”A what?” you say. This class is a crash course in Swedish design, tradition, culture and more. Emphasis is on the use of the drawknife, slojd knife, and a couple of other common hand tools. This is a class in technique and thought, not a project-based workshop. Yes, a distaff is a useful thing, for spinners. Here, it’s a symbol.
Some of you have seen that I have a workshop-build underway. This is a momentous happening for me, as perhaps you can imagine. After leaving my museum job, where I had my workshop for 20 years, I was drifting around a bit, thinking I’d “find” something suitable. It’s now been 2 full years since I packed up my old shop & moved my stuff to storage. I had a loaner shop that I used to shoot the last batch of photos for my upcoming book 2 of joinery. I also tucked a 6’ bench in typically cramped basement quarters here at home. And that’s what really spoiled me, because I got used to, and really liked, being at home.
This story is already getting too long, so I’ll skip ahead. For about a month now, my friend Pret & I have been working part-time cutting joints for the timber frame that will be my 12’ x 16’ workshop. It’s fun, and is going great. The hardest part for me is keeping my head in the present – in my mind, I’m in the shop, working out what goes where, and wandering around inside that space. But that’s getting ahead of myself.
Over the years many of you have written to thank me for the blog and its stories, ideas, etc. I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to send an email or comment, it means a lot to me. The new shop will allow me to get back to photographing furniture work the way I like to, (the basement shop has no room for me, much less a tripod, etc) so you can look forward to more of the “old” posts, maybe by springtime. We have some more joinery to cut, and a lot of details to work out. In the time not working on that, I’m trying to get some stuff made so I can earn money – to buy insulation, siding/sheathing, flooring, shingles, and all the other miscellaneous bits to bring the shop to completion.
I’ve had a couple of complaints about selling stuff here on the blog, one of those I wrote back to & talked about how much free stuff there is here, and always will be (as long as the blog lasts, over 8 years right now). The writer & I worked out the situation, and it all ended well. The reality is I now make my living making things & selling them, and travelling around teaching. Some months are better than others, just like everyone else. After thinking it over long & hard, I decided to add a “donate” button here, while I build the shop. The button will disappear when the shop materials are all set. If anyone is inclined to help out that way, I’d greatly appreciate it. I hesitated to include this option, but I decided that people might want to help out, and my yard is too small to have you all over, so here’s a different way. On the page for spoons, and on the sidebar.
Email if you’d like any of these items. I can send a paypal invoice, or you can mail a check. Just let me know. Thanks as always. Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net
I have several blog posts underway, but tonight I’ll interrupt my ideas just to give a nudge to some folks looking for classes in carving. My season kicks off in February, with a class on the weekend of the 13/14th at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes (scroll down, there’s an April class of mine listed first, but the carving-only one is mid-February)
We’ll be working for 2 days learning the ins & outs of carving 17th-century style patterns. I have just been working on some new old designs to add into the mix – here are some drawings I’ve been working on, these patterns are part of the huge inventory of designs found on oak furniture from Devon, England, with their offspring in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Here’s a version I carved maybe 5 years ago:
There’s carving, and there’s spoon carving –
so for the would-be spoon carvers – come down to Plymouth CRAFT for a weekend of spoon carving. We’ll split, hew and shave spoons from freshly-cut local woods. Learn about the tools, the grips and the design of the spoons. The whole world is spoon-mad, so you might as well jump on board.
My late friend Victor Chinnery once quoted a phrase he read somewhere – “think much, say little, write nothing.” This, 20 years after his book Oak Furniture: the British Tradition. I’ve been thinking of that quote this week.
That video shows a different sequence from what I did with Roy…and right after shooting that work, I left for a short class in Minnesota with Robin Wood. I got a ride up Highway 61 with Jarrod Stone Dahl, Robin and JoJo Wood. One evening JoJo showed me how she hews the spoon blank from a straight-grained blank, and once again, my techniques adapted. The gist of it is that we all keep learning as we go. Hopefully it never stops.
Now you can see one of my favorite spoon carvers, Jarrod Stone Dahl, show you step-by-step his methods in carving spoons with an axe, knife & hook knife.
From time to time readers of the blog have seen/heard me go on about Bill Coperthwaite. Bill’s impact on a whole world of craftsmen/women is pretty far-reaching. I met him near the end of his life, but a group of people are working to keep his legacy going. To learn something about this endeavor, read the website In Search of Simplicity http://www.insearchofsimplicity.net/
One of Bill’s traditions the group has kept alive is his calendar. If you buy this year’s, that means you don’t need to buy one in 2044.
I have been slow to post my schedule for 2016, and now I see that it’s almost upon us. So here are some dates for classes and presentations that I have nailed down thus far. this list is through July, then there will be more later. I have classes at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Lie-Nielsen and Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School. Also a couple of weekend classes are on the books with Plymouth CRAFT. Links will take you to the details, if there are any.
FEBRUARY 13 & 14, 2016. At Bob Van Dyke’s Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, I’ll start off with a furniture-carving class,
“Carving in the 17th century style with Peter Follansbee”
This class runs through several exercises, learning about layout, tool selection and use. Over the course of 2 days, we’ll carve a wide range of 17th-century style patterns in oak. Some of the text from Bob Van Dyke’s website:
“In this two-day course, students will learn the steps and processes used to recreate carving patterns from seventeenth- century furniture of England and New England. Starting with a single gouge and mallet, we will focus on technique and posture. Also considered are proportions, spacing and the relationship between background and foreground in establishing the pattern/design. Each successive practice pattern builds upon the previous example, adding more tools and concepts. We will incorporate hand-pressure, mallet work, and the use of the V-tool in outlining designs. A compass, awl and marking gauge are used to layout the geometric basis for each pattern, but freehand work is included in each as well.”
FEBRUARY 20/21 – Plymouth CRAFT has had quite a first year! And we’ll just keep rolling into year 2. I’ll start with – what else? Spoon carving! We just confirmed the booking, so not on the website yet – http://plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events – but it’s 2 full days of hewing, knife work and spoon design. At Overbrook House, Bourne Massachusetts. Legendary lunch included.
I’ll spend the weekend presenting some green woodworking (spoons, bowls & what else?) at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Goosebay Sawmill, Chichester, NH. I did this show last winter, what a great venue. All those Lie-Nielsen tools, and a sawmill with timbers galore.
APRIL 1-3, 2016, back at CVSWW. a 3-day class in making (and carving) a frame & panel. Think of this as a crash course in joiner’s work, using oak, mortise & tenon, and frame & panel construction. Come help freak Bob Van Dyke out with the carvings –
“Build- and Carve- this Frame & Panel with Peter Follansbee”
In this three day class with joiner & carver Peter Follansbee, students will explore the fundamental aspects of 17th-century joiner’s work. This frame-and-panel project has all the elements of a larger joined chest, but in a scale that fits the time frame. We’ll use oak we rive and plane for the framing parts; and quartersawn stock for the wider panels. Drawbored mortise and tenon joinery and carved decoration will be the a major focal point. A true crash course in joiner’s work. Now, where’d I put that axe?”
[much later in the year, September – Bob & I are planning to repeat out “one-weekend-per-month for X months” joined chest class. The full project, log to chest. Homework, travel, a museum field trip to study originals, this is the whole show. We did it last year with about 9 people whose scars have mostly healed. Dates to be announced as soon as we figure it out. I’d like it to be 5 weekends, but we’ll see. No drawer this time, so fewer pieces to rive & plane.]
“Your instructor, Peter Follansbee, (free range at last!) gnaws woodworking down to the marrow! Celebrate the liberation of our foremost man of organic woodworking with three days of Scandinavian, “upside-down” bowl carving. Starting with a walk in the woods you’ll learn shaping and carving technique from bole to bowl!”
[there is a spoon-carving class before it, but I guess it’s filled. there’s other spoon classes – (Plymouth CRAFT & Lie-Nielsen) or get on the waiting list.]
APRIL 30/MAY 1, 2016 : Plymouth CRAFT again, this time ash basketry.
We did this class this fall, and I was astounded at the students. They whomped on some ash logs and everyone wove a couple of baskets. The baskets are perfect to keep your spoon-carving tools in.
May means Maine – up at Lie-Nielsen we’ll be carving spoons. I’ll be watching birds in the earliest hours, but class doesn’t start til 9. I think I spent 5 weeks in Maine this year, can you tell I like it at Lie-Nielsen?
JUN 10-12, 2016 GREENWOOD FEST – http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=greenwood-fest-2016 well, this one’s sold out – but there’s a waiting list. A 2 1/2 day lovefest with green woodworking in the pinewoods of Plymouth MA. I’ll be presenting my oak furniture game, but there will be heaps of stuff to do. 8 out of 9 of the instructors carve spoons furiously…