Monday, October 24, 2016

Half Way Update

I have been at the State University of New York at Purchase, just north of White Plains since early October thanks to a grant that gives me the opportunity to make new works without the pressure of making a living. My time here ends in mid December. It's been an eye opening experience. The energy of the students here at the art school is inspiring and brings me back to my own time in art school 20 years ago! I teach 3 hours a week and have a studio space next to the wood shop where I get lots of interaction with the school community.
Besides chairs, I've been making small sculptures from cherry logs, carving them with embedded objects. Splitting logs is always exciting for what one can find, so I thought I'd add a bit of my own drama

I've had lots of great things happening lately. Next year I will be continuing to teach at North Bennet Street in Boston and am happy to be lecturing again at the conference at Colonial Williamsburg in February. Some of you may recall that I helped Dave Sawyer and Curtis Buchanan present there about 10 years ago. I think that the Old Yankee and Young Whippersnapper routine that Dave and I played out endeared me to the organizers. I recently visited Dave in Vermont, and while his health is not so great, I was thrilled to see that his son George continues to practice the craft and that the environment is still charged with that special aura of slow engagement that changed my life. You can read more about Dave and George in issue 2 of Mortise and Tenon Magazine.
I also have a video coming out that my friends at Lie-Nielsen produced. It's in the can and I am just awaiting all the logistics to work out before I can offer the release date. It's was fun to make and I am very happy with the content. It focuses on green woodworking and the project is based on one of Dave's firewood carriers. More to come.

I've also been lucky enough to get a section in Nick Offermans new book "Good Clean Fun". Nick is best known for his character on the TV show "Parks and Recreation" and for being married to Megan Mullally (he'll appreciate the attribution). Last December, while in Boston for a play, he took my chairmaking class and I can honestly say that he was one of my most enthusiastic students. He is using his public position to shine a light on the value of craft and craftspeople as well as setting forth a very useful philosophy on good living. I've been listening to his books while in the shop and I highly recommend them (not just the one that I'm in).

On the tool front, I have been sorely remiss in not updating the blog. While Tim and Claire have continued to crank out amazing tools (these are solely their businesses and I am their best client), I have ceased the wholesale selling of my caliper. My retailers have been great partners for many years, but the margins on the tool are basically nonexistent when I sell through them, so I've chosen to sell the caliper solely through my website after I return from the residency here in NY. For all those looking to purchase one, thanks for your patience and check my site just before Xmas for details.

And for all my friends out there who have been following all the changes in my personal life, I'd like to bring you up to date. It's been a year since the unexpected loss of my dear Lily and sadly, Rockets health took a turn recently and Claire bravely gave her friend up to peace. For those who don't know, after my divorce, I had both dogs and Claire was working with me at my house in Sterling. Her bond with Rocket was unlike any I've ever seen. So when she moved south, it was obvious that Rocket should go with. It was a great choice and Rocky lived out his days in such good care and love that we should all be jealous. I got to see him a few times in the last year and it was always great to see him living the good life as the happy scoundrel that he always was.

I am excited to go back home to Boston and start looking for another dog to adopt.

So many of you visited me in my years with Sue that I wanted to let you know that we remain friends and that we have both found new partners to share our lives.  I am proud of both of us and will always be the person that she helped me become.

I am lucky to be celebrating my two year anniversary next month (boy does time fly!) with the lovely Stephanie Hubbard. She is a landscape architect with Site-Creative, a firm she started 10 years ago in Boston and our life together brings me great joy.
I won't prattle on, although I really want to, but suffice it to say, especially for all those who were so supportive in the transitions of years past, I am very happy, so thanks for helping me along. If you want to see Stephanie in action, visit the archive shows of "This Old House" as she was a regular contributor in the past.
Thanks for continuing to read Chair Notes, obviously I've been hunkered down with many other endeavors, but if you want to keep up, please follow me as I post more often on Instagram under  petergalbert. Yes it's the lazy man's blog, but I'm not too proud.