the summer of Fests

It’s quite a festive year for some of us – Going in reverse chronological order, the circus I’m in has expanded so that I’ll be travelling to Sweden & England this summer, in addition to my usual East Coast wanderings.

The last one is Täljfest at Sätergläntan in Sweden. Among the many participants are Del Stubbs, renowned knife-maker to the spoon world, working on his fan birds; Jögge Sundqvist, inspiring us all with his extraordinary work, Beth Moen, carver of giant bowls, (her favorite tools is the axe!); Anja Sundberg, whose work is almost as colorful (more colorful?) than Jögge’s; and Jojo Wood. (it’s the Year of JoJo).  There’s more craftspeople to come, too. It’s my first trip to that part of the world, I’m beside myself with excitement. I cant’ believe I get to be a part of this. https://www.facebook.com/taljfest/?fref=nf and http://www.saterglantan.com/evenemang/taljfest/ 

 

 

The middle festival for me is Spoonfest in Edale, Derbyshire, England. http://spoonfest.co.uk/

It’s the reverse British invasion, four Americans coming for the pre-fest courses; me, Fred Livesay, Jarrod Stone Dahl, and Alexander Yerks. Among others are Magnus Sundelin- I’m thrilled to be in such company. that’s just the sessions beforehand, then the whole thing kicks off for 3 days…with Robin Wood, Barn Carder and I-don’t-know-who-else. Spoonfest is the legend, and this is my first time getting to it. I’m looking forward to meeting all those spoon-crazed people!

 

Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest is the first, coming up in early June. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?page_id=2189

Plymouth CRAFT

Spoonfest was our inspiration; some common threads are JoJo Wood, Jarrod Stone Dahl, Jögge Sundqvist, Beth Moen – but we have Owen Thomas, Dave Fisher, Tim Manney, April Stone Dahl and others coming too. Later this month, I’ll be getting some lists of wood needs, and other preparations. It will be here before you know it, and before I’m ready. Thankfully, CRAFT is in better hands than mine, so I just have to show up & introduce some people and cut wood…

Upcoming classes

wb nuthatch good light
white breasted nuthatch

the winter is gradually letting go around here; my workshop is almost all-cut & ready for raising. (Then the real work begins of finishing it off so I can use it!) – and soon I’ll be travelling out & about to teach classes. Here’s a reminder of the upcoming classes –

frame & panel

April 1-3  I’ll be at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, the project is making a carved frame & panel in oak. We’ll work with riven oak, planing it to size, cutting the joinery, and carving the panel (& frame if time allows) and then bevelling the panel and fitting it in the frame. All the basics of 17th-century joiner’s work, wrapped into five pieces of wood. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/510-build-and-carve-this-frame-panel-with-peter-follansbee.html

nov spoons blog post photo
On May 7 & 8, I’ll be back at Lie-Nielsen, with two days of spoon carving. May is my favorite time to be in Maine. Spoon carving is, as you might know, sweeping the world. Come see what it’s all about, or if you’ve already carved a lot of spoons, come & we’ll explore some of the finer points of spoon design. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/126

carved box

June is mostly taken up with Greenwood Fest, but right after it, I’ll pack up again for Warren, Maine. This time at Lie-Nielsen we’re making a carved box. Last year we developed a short version of this course; jumping right to learning the carvings, then designing the box’s patterns. We’ll assemble the box with wooden pins securing rabbet joints, then nail the bottom on, following 17th-century practice. A wooden hinge engages cleats under the lid. Come join us and eventually your house will be as full of boxes as mine. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/129

In the “classes that ain’t mine” department, I want to bring your attention to two at Plymouth CRAFT –

 

drawknife work 2

Tim's spoon 1

Tim Manney’s coming down from Maine to Plymouth to show a different take on spoon carving – he will show you how to steam-bend a straight-grained piece of green wood to a shape that is perfect for a well-designed spoon. Don’t be mystified by the steam-bending – it’s a simple process that will take you in new directions with spoon carving, and other woodworking too. Tim is part of the Greenwood Fest this spring in Plymouth, but here’s a chance to spend some concentrated time in a small group exploring spoon design, tool use and more.

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=steam-bent-spoon-work-with-tim-manney

IMG_6113

One offering from later in the season – After Greenwood Fest, Dave Fisher is coming back to Plymouth to lead 12 students through the process of bowl-carving. If you’ve seen his work – (you have, haven’t you?), you know Dave’s a master at this. He puts a lot of thought into his bowls, and will show you how to really advance your visions in this engrossing workshop. I’ll be peering in the windows for this one for sure, unless he sings some Barry Manilow songs… 

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=bowl-carving-with-dave-fisher

Some spoons etc for sale, March 6, 2016

spoons

In between framing the workshop & working on some wainscot chairs, I have been carving some spoons…

I posted a few for sale, the page is here, or at the header of the blog there’s a link. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-etc-for-sale-march-6-2016/ 

If you’d like to order something, just leave a comment or send an email. Paypal is easiest, or you can send a check. Thanks as always.
Warm weather coming, time to finish up that timber frame!

day off to clean up & sort stuff

Mostly this winter has looked like this in our neighborhood.

 

before the snow

Then the other day, it looked like this:

upriver

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:

shop w tarps

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.

A couple of days ago, one of the many emails from Popular Woodworking was one I was waiting for – April Stone Dahl’s new video about her black ash basketry is available for download, or for ordering the physical disc.   http://www.shopwoodworking.com/traditional-basket-weaving-dvd

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 spoon-carving & sloyd/slojd update

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 hews

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.

jojo spoons

See the description here http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=an-in-depth-look-at-the-eating-spoon-with-jojo-wood

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.

dull jogge

Here’s his photo of some of his distaffs

Photo by Jögge Sundqvist
photo JöggeSundqvist

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=distaff-the-passion-of-carving-with-jogge-sundqvist

I’ll be skulking around both of those days, trying to eavesdrop on these two exciting workshops.

If you can’t make it to those classes, or need a warm-up, I have a spoon carving class with a few openings left; coming up in February.

spoons oct 2013

We’ve had great response to spoon carving; each class has its own dynamic. But the common threads are people get started and can’t stop…so come & make some wood chips. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=spoon-carving-with-peter-follansbee

Then in April, Tim Manney will come down from Maine to teach his methods of steam-bending spoon blanks. This will be a real treat. I have written about Tim’s methods before, and I continue to enjoy his work. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/what-if-a-chairmaker-made-spoons/

drawknife work 2

Tim will be at Greenwood Fest too – I just haven’t got around to posting his bio yet. But this weekend in April is a chance for close instruction in a mind & wood-bending approach to a traditional craft. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=steam-bent-spoon-work-with-tim-manney

 

Spoons & more for sale, Jan 2016 – proceeds towards workshop project

 

chisel waste

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.

So – the fundraising bit –

bowl & spoons Jan

I have a few spoons for sale, and will have more coming soon. There’s also some odds and ends; hewn bowls, and a carved panel in Alaskan yellow cedar. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-bowls-more-for-sale-jan-2016-shop-build-fundraiser/

I still have a box or two, and the baskets. Those are found here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/furniture-sale-winter-2015/ and here: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/baskets-furniture/

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   

 

 

furniture carving & spoon carving classes in February

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.

carving sketch

Here’s a version I carved maybe 5 years ago:

carved in oak

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.

spoon carvers

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=spoon-carving-with-peter-follansbee