American Woodworker

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Ten year anniversary for the Eliot House Woodworking program, Harvard College - Part 2: Field trips

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Last time I wrote about and showed you the old shop and the complete make over we put it through. This time I will talk about our woodworking program. 

After the initial renovation was complete we started to put some pedagogic content in it. First, we offered safety and shop orientation to all interested students and staff. Then we launched a seminar in woodworking and furniture design and we offered open-studio hours during the week and the weekend for students to work on their projects. We opened our doors to Harvard affiliates from all around campus and provided advice and support for folks who wanted to create all kind of tangible projects, not necessarily just woodworking related. Once or twice a year we took our students to a field trip to see the best woodworkers Massachusetts had to offer. We took the famous Boston Underground (the "T") two stops to Medford and climbed the stairs of the Powderhouse woodworkers (where I apprenticed) to see Mitch Ryerson, John Everdell, Judy Kensley McKie, Natan Rome, and a few other wonderful makers that had their shops set up in one semi communal space.  

Here are a few pictures from our filed trips. 

1. John Everdell in front of his bench. Then, during another visit, he displays to us one of his furniture legs.

2.With David Werbeloff, looking at a harpsichord he built. 

3. Mitch Ryerson: In front of a bench top he was carving, then showing students an outdoor stage from Ipe and copper he was working on.

4. Visiting Judy's studio and looking at some beautifuyl painted carve work. 

5. Nathan Rome is a woodworker who can build almost anything, from kitchens to boats. As we toured the Powderhouse space Nathan was finishing a wooden boat. As the shop is located on the 4th floor and the size of the elevator could not accommodate a boat of this size, the windows had to go down and a crane was employed to hoist it out to the street. 

6. Our last stop was at Kim Schmahmann's shop. An architect by training and a graduate of the North Bennet Street School in Boston he is one the worlds best marquetry artists. When we visited his shop he was working on the joinery of one of his massive wood marquetry narrative panels. 

Next time I will talk about the guest we invited to Eliot House to talk about woodworking and wood art.