Monday, December 22, 2008

Removing the Scales From My Eyes

Growth is a funny thing…outside of time-lapse photography and the rare biological process (Pupil dilation, of course…), there are few things in our world where we humans can “see” growth.

Most of the time we recognize growth after it has happened.

SHAZAMMMMMMMM!!!!!!! When did our River Birch get to be taller than the Power Lines?

HEY!!!!!!!!!! Who the hell has been shrinking the waistband on my pants?????

I think something similar has happened in my woodworking education. I base this upon the 2009 classes I signed up for at Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

As many of you know, I first discovered and attended Marc’s school back in 2006 because I wanted to spend a week studying with my “TV Mentor” David Marks. Everything about that initial class was based upon personality: David’s personality. I wanted to study with David Marks, and I found that David is a great communicator and an amazing artist.

2007 was the Joinery year. I spent two weeks at MASW learning Joinery and Advanced Joinery, and I came away with a rock solid foundation of furniture construction.

2008 was the year I studied Hand Tool Techniques with Chris Gochnour. I knew how to make joints, but I wanted to meet Chris and have an opportunity to make a project using just hand tools.

2009 is another leap for me. I just realized I have signed up for a series of classes that will focus on “the little things.” I am moving past construction and looking at embellishment. During the 2009 season at MASW, I am scheduled to learn Marquetry. In addition to that week-long class, I am signed up for weekend classes on Inlaying with Steve Latta and “Finishes that Pop”with Glen Huey.

I have spent years trying to learn design through osmosis as I leveraged the talents of coworkers who were graduates of places like Art Center in Pasadena, College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Kendall College of Art and Design, University of Cincinnati’s Industrial Design program, etc. However, I finally decided I should take a weekend to ease into my own study of design. So I am also taking a Design class with Garrett Hack.

I am happy with my joinery. I like my dovetails, and I especially like how well I can fix (hide) my mistakes. I suppose once we master the pins and tails, the next step is to try to be like Rob Cosman or Frank Klausz and see how fast we can cut them. But I don’t have the time to dedicate to creating the muscle memory necessary to dovetail an entire drawer in less than 20 minutes. Also, I don’t have a need for that kind of production speed.

A year from now my furniture projects will probably look exactly the same as they do now… if we compare them in the bottom of a cave where the blind fish swim. However, the classes I am taking in 2009 will hopefully take me from furniture of solid construction to well made furniture that also catches the eye.

I am not the same woodworker I was in 2006. I am still on the heavily sloped section of the learning curve, where the new techniques are presented often and learned fairly quickly. (Note I said LEARNED… not MASTERED). In 2009, I plan to continue with my woodworking education, and I am looking forward to this valuable growth opportunity.

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