Monday, October 31, 2011

Sawdust and Woodchips...

I just returned home from a two day box making class this weekend with Sawdust and Woodchips, a woodworking club in Syracuse, New York. I missed all the snow from the surprise Northeaster, and made it safely back to Arkansas last night. A few photos from the class are shown below.

Woodworking clubs like Sawdust and Woodchips do important things in our communities. First, they provide social connection in which skills are shared and each member is encouraged in his or her growth. Secondly, most clubs with which I'm familiar, have programs designed to directly benefit their communities. Sawdust and Woodchips has an annual toy making project that supplies toys to poor children and has raised money for the children's hospital.

The club recently demonstrated at the New York State Fair, giving thousands of fair visitors a sense of how things were once made, and a glimpse of the wonderful tradition of woodworking. Many of the club members are involved in using local woods, and that, as you know, helps others to have a better appreciation of our natural environment.

This next week Sawdust and Woodchips will have their annual show in which members will bring their best work to share with each other and compete for prizes.  Woodworking clubs members are notorious for sharing interesting techniques with each other, sharing sources for tools and materials, and are given special discount buying privileges from a variety of woodworking suppliers.  Some woodworking clubs bring in guest demonstrators and teachers for extended learning opportunities. If you are in the Syracuse New York area, check out Sawdust and Woodchips. If you are not, look for a woodworking club in your area. No two clubs will be exactly alike. Each will have activities designed to reflect the interest of its members. But, in most woodworking clubs you will find like-minded folks, who understand the value of hands-on learning, who are sincerely interested in building better communities and love wood. These are my kind of folks. I want to publicly thank Bob Casey for arranging my class, and Barbara Raymond and Charlie LaPrease for their hospitality and for the use of their work shop and tools during  great weekend of box making.


Today, being back in the shop and off for fall break from Clear Spring School, I get to make boxes.

My thanks to John Meloling for the photos of the class.

Some of my readers may be interested in the Luddites and the Luddite falacy The Luddites rose up in opposition to the machine age as skilled workers were pushed out of employment. The "luddite falacy" claims that they were mistaken, though more modern observers have noted that the Luddites may have just been a couple hundred years ahead of their time in the same way that Malthusian Theory may have also been just a couple hundred years ahead of its time. To create a society of craftsmen, however is independent of what our machines may or may not do. It simply requires that we begin to recognize and place value in what people do in their own personal efforts to create useful beauty. In other words, we can have our computers and our saws and hammers, too.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

Christine Leigh said...

I love Syracuse!!! I have to admit, that even though my father does woodworking, and I grew up in Liverpool, I had no idea that this club existed. I am going to have to tell my father about it. Thanks!