Passing the Baton: Country Workshops & the Maine Coast Craft School

meet me in the country

I keep hearing bits and snatches of news about things down near Marshall, N.C. – home of Country Workshops. In his newsletter from the last part of 2016, Drew Langsner mentioned that things were slowing down. For 2017 there are only 2 tutorials this summer. So I wrote to Drew, asking “Is this it?” “Yup”, came the answer.

Drew showing bowls
Drew showing bowls

End of an era is an understatement. All those years, all those classes, trooping into their house and home. I think it started about 1977 or so. I first went there in 1980, to learn ladderback chairmaking from then-John Alexander. By the mid-80s, I was a regular attendee, and in 1988 a summer intern, ending that season with a large class in timber-framing where we built the “new” barn. Once I got a museum job in the mid-1990s, I didn’t get down to Drew & Louise’s for a while, then went back as an instructor and once a student in 2010. My earlier post about Drew & Louise, and their Country Workshops saga is here https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/how-did-i-get-started-country-workshops-the-langsners-is-how/

This summer will be the end, both of the workshops and the tool store. But Kenneth & Angela Kortemeier,will take up some of where Drew & Louise are leaving off –  their new school, in mid-coast Maine, is starting up the same time Country Workshops is winding down. Kenneth has quite a resume, including  stints as Drew’s intern, and a period living with John Brown making chairs in Wales.

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Here’s the fledgling website, a new place to watch. http://www.mainecoastcraft.com/  Drew told me that part of what Kenneth & Angela will be doing up there in Maine includes taking over some tool sales involving the great tools by Hans Karlsson and Svante Djarv that Drew has helped bring to the US. And more…

l-r Dave Fisher, Drew Langsner, Louise Langsner

BUT – one other part of this story. This June, Drew & Louise are coming to Plymouth to be our special guests at Greenwood Fest. I’ve asked Drew to put together a slide history of Country Workshops, and they’ll be around for the festival to meet up with old friends and meet new ones. This is a chance to thank them in person for all the work they’ve done for decades. Many green woodworkers in America and beyond can trace their roots to Drew & Louise, even if they don’t know it…

chipping away at things

 

Got a smattering of snow the other day.,..this was the view from my desk yesterday morning.

desk-window

I write blog posts around photographs, so when there’s no photos, there’s no blog. I’ve been splitting my time many different ways lately, some work (slowly) on the shop; installing cement board to shield the walls from the wood stove. Hardly worth a photo….pretty uninspiring.

One thing I have done lately is collecting some cherry crooks for spoon carving. A friend cut down a large cherry tree, and I swooped in for the upper branches. Lots of crooks there, some burls too. Those are mostly new for me, I turned a burl bowl once…but I’m going to try carving these.

crooks-hiding-in-the-snow

burl

I started two new versions of a spoon with a hook under its handle (a crook with a hook) – I dug out this one I never finished, it’s apple.

apple-hook

bark-in-bowl

A very exaggerated form here, but I was very happy with the profile. The hooks are usually/always a lot smaller than this…but I really liked the curves here. This one got abandoned because of a void in the bowl. You can see a crack with trapped bark and grit there. It’s quite deep, no way to salvage this one. So it stands as a sample…

I have two in cherry underway, (one very large one, one more sane-sized) but neither have the sinuous curve this one has. Where’s those other big crooks?

three-hooks

next-crook

In the mail a couple of weeks ago arrived two spoons – I was very pleased with the overall forms and carving, but the finial on the lighter (dogwood) spoon knocked me out…Micah Green is the carver, see his stuff on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/whittlerjoel/

two-spoons


mouse

 

This weekend I’m back in Connecticut to teach the continuing joined chest class…

better-chest-view

This time, drawers and lids. So next week, I should have a finished chest finally….it will ultimately go in the exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum – featuring the artisans from Plymouth Craft. This show will be up into June during Greenwood Fest… http://fullercraft.org/event/living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft/  There will be lots more about this exhibition as it comes together. One feature during the exhibition and the festival will be Jogge Sundqvist’s Rhythym & Slojd presentation. More details to come…

UPDATE – I forgot to tell you, Maureen has put some of her knitting & felted stuff on sale. Apparently spring will come at some point, so time to move some winter stuff along. Here’s the link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

Sale Hand knit hand dyed scarf, blue and periwinkle lace waves scarf, merino wool hand dyed yarn, woman's scarf, long

 

Teaching schedule 2017

I’m as behind as usual, but I just spent some time listing my teaching schedule as it now stands for 2017. It will be listed at the top of the blog,  – https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/teaching-schedule-for-2017/  – but I’ve copied it below here for now.

In addition, I hope to offer one-on-one instruction here at my new shop. I still have a few bits to finish off first, but just wanted to let people know. there’s 2 benches, and lots of tools. As I think about format, it could be pretty flexible. Students could come for technique-based sessions, like the spoon carving or furniture carving I do. Or we could focus on a project, like the carved boxes. If anyone is interested, email me to discuss your ideas. Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net  I’ll post more about these when I am closer to being ready. Hopefully within 2 months.

snowy-view

Meanwhile, here’s the classes & more at the usual schools…

Teaching Schedule for 2017

The beginning of this year got away from me, so I am just now posting my teaching schedule for 2017. In addition to these classes, exhibition, and other presentations, I hope to offer one-on-one sessions here at my new shop. I have a little fine tuning to finish up, then I can sort that out. I picture these being either techniques, like spoon carving or  carving 17th century patterns; but maybe these could be project oriented too. If anyone is interested, they can email me ( Peter.Follansbee@verizon.net ) & we can tailor something to suit, and go over specifics.

Here’s the schedule as is stands now – there will likely be things added here & there. Right now, there’s nothing with Plymouth CRAFT other than the Greenwood Fest, and I know that we’ll do a few classes during the year. So, more to come.

 

February 18th & 19th, Spoon Carving, CVSWWspoon carving

Spoon carving class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. This will be our first time offering this class at Bob Van Dyke’s place. It’s filling up, good winter work, inside carving spoons. I’ll bring some fresh wood, some knives – grab your hatchet & come to CT. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes 

 

February 28-March 4, North House Folk School

Carved Decoration--17th Century English Style

 

I’ll take part in Wood Week at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. It will be my first time teaching there, I was a student a few years ago, and found the school and the people to be great. I’ll be working on carving 17th-century style designs for furniture decoration and also giving a talk..  http://www.northhouse.org/programs/events/woodcarverweek.htm

 

March 18-June 25, exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum

 

OpeningReceptionPhoto

Starting in March, my work will be represented in conjunction with a Plymouth CRAFT exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. There’s an opening reception on Sunday April 9th. Details here http://fullercraft.org/event/living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft/ and http://fullercraft.org/event/opening-reception-for-living-traditions-the-handwork-of-plymouth-craft-and-ellen-schiffman-the-52-box-project/  There will be some more collaboration between Plymouth CRAFT and Fuller Craft, part of which happens during Greenwood Fest.

 

April 21-23, Fine Woodworking Live, Southbridge MA

I’ll be part of the group at Fine Woodworking Live in Southbridge, Massachusetts. http://www.finewoodworkinglive.com/ I’ll be doing presentations about oak joinery, including the carving. It’s quite a line-up, my first time with Fine Woodworking…

 

May 20 & 21, 17th-c style carving , CVSWW

carving detail 2

I’ll be back at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking to do a 2-day class in 17th-century style carving. This one is always fun, because we carve patterns that give Bob the creeps…he sees faces in every design. Very unsettling.

June 6-11, Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest.

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It was such a big hit last year, we were dumb enough to do it again. Still some spaces in some pre-fest classes, and a waiting list for the festival. many got in from the waiting list last year.  https://www.greenwoodfest.org/

 

August 19 & 20, Spoon Carving at Lie-Nielsen

dave & the crook

I’ll be up at Lie-Nielsen for 2 days of spoon carving. One of my favorite trips of the year. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/156

 

Late September – Make a Carved Box, CVSWW

carved box

 

We haven’t set the dates yet, but this will probably be a four-day class, around a weekend in September. We’ll carve and assemble a box typical of the 17th-century work I have specialized in for all these years. My only box class this year…details soon.

 

Oct 6-8  Spoon Carving, Woodwright’s School.

 

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I’ll be teaching spoon carving down at Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School. Fun happens there.

Spoons posted for sale

spoons-january

I’m still slowly getting sorted after moving into the workshop. Posted some spoons for sale today. This hopefully will get back to being a regular occurrence. The link is here, or on the header of the blog page. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-jan-15-2017/

If there’s something you’d like to order, leave a comment and we can take it from there. Details on the page..

back to work for me…

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a fest, a chest, some spoons

scribing

First off, the Greenwood Fest http://www.greenwoodfest.org/ sold out in just about 1 day.  There are still spaces in several of the pre-fest courses; scroll down on the link to read about those offerings. If you missed a ticket to the fest, do get on the waiting list. June is a long ways off, lots can happen between now & then. Last year, many on the waiting list got in. Maybe all. Thanks to all who support Plymouth CRAFT’s programs, we appreciate it. A special hearty thanks to Paula Marcoux, who runs Plymouth CRAFT, organizes the festival and created the website – and answered every question sent to Plymouth CRAFT …and on & on. The rest of us just goof around, Paula does all the work.

paula

In the workshop, I’m getting prepared for this weekend’s edition of the joined chest class at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/  I’m going to assemble the chest I’m working on, so the students can see what happens when they get to that step. First, I make a lot of tapered oak pins. Shaved, not driven through a dowel plate. These pins are the most critical part of the joinery. They need to be straight-grained, and cleanly cut.

shaving-pins

And I need a lot of them. I think 56 in this particular chest. Some are already driven; the front is mostly assembled.

still-not-enough

the photo at the top of this post shows me scribing the pin hole on the side rails’ tenons. Here, I’ve knocked those joints apart enough to get in there & bore the holes in the tenons.

boring

Then drive the pins home. driving-pins

The shoulder pulls up nice & tight.

pegged

I’ll cut & fit the till and install the floor during the class. I’ll try to get shots during the weekend.

SPOON-CARVING –

I carved some spoons recently – one a shape I’ve carved many times – here is the new spoon alongside one about 10 years old. Similar shape, one with a nice broken-in feel, the other brand-spankin’-new. Both birch, both flax oil finish. that’s what using them does to them…I like the look of time & use… I think it also helps to know as you’re carving spoons that what the color & grain look like today is not what they will look like down the line.

new-old-spoons

new-old-spoons-rear

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.

Image result for darrick sanderson bowls

 

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.

derek turning

derek-spoons-etc

 

Image result for darrick sanderson bowls

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

Greenwood Fest 2017 instructor: Jane Mickelborough

Registration for Greenwood Fest opens this coming Wednesday January 4th. http://www.greenwoodfest.org/  I’ll have reminders here, and the Plymouth CRAFT newsletter will announce it too. Sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t already (under the “registration” tab on the GWF site).

I have not got to all the instructor profiles yet – there’s a few more returning instructors, but here’s another new one for us, Jane Mickelborough.

 

jane

When I went to Spoonfest & Täljfest last summer, several times I said “It’s like the internet has come to life!” – it was so much fun to meet all these people that I had only seen on the web. And to see their spoons and other works in the “flesh” – there’s no comparison. Jane Mickelborough was one spoon carver I was particularly interested in meeting. Her work caught my attention several years ago, probably through her participation in Spoonfest. We’re thrilled that she’s coming from her home in Brittany to Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest 2017 in June. From Jane’s blurb about her work:

“I have been carving all my life, from blocks of soap at the age of five, to carving wooden spoons which I started about six years ago.

As well as teaching at home, at Spoonfest and last year at Täljfest in Sweden, I organise an annual green wood working festival where I live, in Brittany, France.

Although I do different types of green wood-working, I am particularly fascinated by wooden spoons – what appear to be simple, everyday objects are, in fact, very subtle three-dimensional shapes. The variability of the wood itself means that making a beautiful, functional wooden spoon is a real challenge that is never the same twice.

I am particularly interested in the traditional decorated spoons that used to be made in Brittany. These intricately decorated spoons, which were often made to fold, were used at weddings and festivals, where it was usual to bring your own spoon and knife.”

janes-folder-folded

It’s Jane’s work studying and learning how to make the traditional Breton spoons that particularly catches my eye. It’s nice to see someone taking on their local history, refreshing to see something so different from what many of us are carving for spoons. I saw her presentation at Täljfest about the wax inlaid Breton spoons, it was very nicely done. She’s offering a 2-day class on the folding spoons, as well as a presentation about her research and some demos & workshops on the chip-carving and inlay. Her website is www.chatquilit.com   and her Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/janespoons/  

antique-folding-spoon

Jane writes:   “The old spoon is in the Musée de Bretagne at Rennes. It is listed as coming from ‘Cornouaille’ which is fairly general for south Brittany. There is no date given, but mid-19th century is likely. From it’s general shape and hinge pattern I suspect it is from the Vannes area (the south east of Brittany) rather than the southwest. This is because the chip carving is left open, and not inlaid with coloured wax. Also, the hinge is relatively narrow, rather than flat and broad in the typical Quimper style.  There are quite a few documented spoons from around Vannes that are this rather graceful shape. It is made of pear wood, which in itself is unusual – most are box.  It measures 17.6cm by 4.5cm  photo @Collection Musée de Bretagne, Rennes.”

Here’s her spoon, based only on the photograph, she’s yet to see that spoon in person!

janes-folding-spoon-2

 

janes-chip-carving