Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Show & Tell Part 1

Another great feature of this woodworking program is the Show & Tell segments.  Second year students are well into their first project and are now being asked to tell us first year students about their process so far in the work they've been doing.  They share with us their thoughts concerning their design, the difficulties and adjustments they've had to make when they realize the design may not necessarily match reality, how they are stretching themselves in their abilities, and the techniques being used to create the desired result.  There are so many things I find valuable in these learning moments.  

I've been to many of the CR Woodworking shows over the years and I've always admired the work of these students.  But I don't think I've ever fully appreciated or understood the amount of work that goes into each piece.  Hearing Joshua Smith talk about his "Sow's Ear", a bench he made for some friends for their cabin along the Trinity River, allowed me to see his piece in a whole different light.  It wasn't just some rugged bench for a summer cabin in the woods.  As he shared his thoughts concerning choosing the wood, keeping it native to the environment, to his idea of making it a "tactile" piece, wanting people to be able to feel the bench, what at first seemed like a simple bench turned into a thoughtful creation.  And to some, it may look a little rough.  But as Laura Mays pointed out, the bench is "perfect for the appropriateness of the project".

Laura was up the following day to share her process for making her chair "Googie".  

1.  The idea:  She wanted to make a chair that didn't require as much time as her "Wholeness"  chair.  She also wanted to be able to make this chair in batches. 

2.  Sketches: lots of sketches: 

3.  The mini mockups: scale:  1:5

4.  A mock up that became a bit too big and, thus, is now her daughter's chair.

5.  Her final piece:  The details--note the continuous grain pattern in this photo and

 the arms in this one.

6.  The changes she made:  She felt the arm twist in the child's chair was too much for how she saw her final piece.  She wanted to return to simpler roots.  She also took out much of the bulk in the back legs leaving the chair with a lighter look.

Tomorrow the rest of us first year students will begin the design process for our first project.  The expectation is that we're done with our piece by winter break.  Really?!

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