One of the most rewarding activities we came up with was to invite furniture makers, wood artists, and people who have contributed to woodworking in a profound way, to come over for dinner in our great dining hall, give a talk or a demonstration of their art and answer student questions. The food at Eliot House is spectacular. And, as you can see in these pictures, you can choose from a huge variety of world foods and recipes.
Our first guest was my friend and fellow artisan Jack Mauch. He introduced the art of milk-paint technique and showed several creative ways to apply milk paint on wood. BTW, Jack was recruited later on and joined our program as Tutor.
In this picture Jack is looking at a walnut cutting board made by Philip Hendrix.
Yoko Miyaji is a Japanese woodworker who lives and works in Boston. She was very happy to come over and show us some Japanese handwork techniques. She also educated us about her specialty: Urushi-e, the famous and highly irritating (itching, allergenic, etc) Japanese lacquer application technique.
Yoko in action... planing a board
One of our students, Elisa, successfully planing a board with one of Yoko's planes.
Looking at some Urushi-e samples.
One of the most fascinating events we held was a talk by Tom Lie-Nielsen about his work: resurrecting the manufacturing of high quality woodworking hand tools in North America. Tom brought over a big collection of Lie-Nielsen's tools, including some eye-catching prototypes of future tools. We held the talk in the Senior Common Room, or the faculty club of Eliot House.
Over the years we had many important guests. Among then Albert LeCoff Director of the Center for Art In Wood in Philadelphia, and sculptor Steff Rocknak from New York. People from all over the campus came to listen to these talks and felt that by organizing these events we contributed to spreading the love for wood and the appreciation for the art and craft of fine woodworking among students and faculty, which otherwise might have not heard about this vast and beautiful world we are so passionate about.