Monday, March 16, 2009
Return from Arrowmont
Here are the results of my recent trip to Arrowmont Craft School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I taught the class with Brent Skidmore (shown sitting in the blue shirt) and a lot of help from Elia Bizzarri. We had a fantastic group of students with a wide range of ages and experience, which made for a cooperative and engaging class. The curve legged stool was designed specifically for this class. Soon, I'll have some good photos of the one that Brent and I made together and donated to the school auction (bid early and often!). When planning a class, it's always a balance between the amount of information to transmit, the amount of hands on experience to offer and the quality of the finished product. All in all, I was very pleased with the results, mostly that the students had their hands in the work for a majority of the time.
Above you see JC splitting out parts for his undercarraige, with moral support from Clarence. I like to have students split out their own parts to help make that vital connection between the logs and the wood.
The first day was so lovely that we couldn't help but work outside.
Here is the benchroom. I can say without reservation that Arrowmont has the most well equiped and maintained facilities that I've had the pleasure in which to teach. Not only did the shop managers stop by often to ensure that we had all that we required, but we had frequent visits from the school administrators as well.
Here is the machine room. I didn't take enough photos to show the extent of the facilities. There is also a full shop for the turning classes, a beautiful gallery, a small media room for lectures and even a hot pot of coffee running all day (essential for good teaching!). Oh yeah, and the food and housing was great.
The school is a real gem. I spoke with the Bill Griffith, the assistant Director and class programmer, about a new program that they have begun where groups can rent the facilities for special classes or meetings. For instance, if you have a woodworking group that has a yearly conference or wants to host a specific class (such as bringing in a New York chairmaker to teach), Arrowmont can help facilitate it.
Please check out their site. And thanks to everyone who made the trip possible (especially Brent Skidmore and the t-shirt airbrush artist who made the perfect gift for my wife)