The dilemmas of Social Media and the time it consumes.
There have been many less posts this past year on this blog than previous years.
I lay the blame squarely at my own feet for putting time and energy into posting on both Instagram and the Joy of Wood's Facebook page. With limited computer time, getting involved with both of these platforms has reduced the time available for the blog. However I have found that the FB page has become a useful local communication tool and Instagram has become a great source of inspiration - seeing what others around the world are creating with wood. The other great source of inspiration is Pinterest which has also suffered from neglect through 2015, as I have posted very little myself - though I have often looked at others' work there. Tough choices for a time-poor Woodworker!
|More time needed to carve spoons!|
Taking the Joy of Wood to Primary Schools.
We did a range of woodworking incursions in a number of schools once again in 2015, which are always a lot of work but a heap of fun to do. Some of the highlights would be the pre-Fathers Day workshops at Subiaco Primary and Swan Valley Anglican Community School, where kids have their Dads come and help them while they make their Dads a present for Fathers Day!
|Kids and Dads doing it together - making Fathers Day gifts.|
|The Metal Marimba - part of the Sound Garden.|
|Phil explaining to a class where wood comes from at the start of a session.|
|There was a lucky Dad out there who received this...|
|A delightful dinosaur creation. All the young fella's own work!|
We also do workshops with groups of Home Schoolers at the Heritage Woodcraft Centre.
Taking the Joy of Wood to Festivals.
Offering woodworking experiences in public festival environments has been an important part of our activities for some years now. Mostly aimed at kids of all ages, we also have many adults and whole families who spend time with us making stuff.
|It always draws a crowd - the sound of all those hammers pounding.|
|Great seeing families enjoying making stuff together.|
|Light running out does not deter the enthusiastic crowd. Hilton Harvest Twilight Fair.|
|Concentration on the face of Jasper, a four year old.|
Sharing the Joy of Wood through public Demonstrations.
In 2015, I had the pleasure of doing Green Woodworking Demonstrations for Timbecon at the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth Wood Shows. A great opportunity to check out the Wood Shows on the other side of Australia, it also gave me a chance to meet some other green woodworkers around the country, and some spoon carvers too. Great to network like that.
|My setup in Sydney, the first morning, before the hordes arrived.|
Spoon carving demo, with Mora knives, on behalf of Timbecon.
(Picture by Australian Wood Review)
|On my Double Spring Pole lathe, at the Perth Wood Show.|
For me this is all part of the environmental/sustainability message, encouraging people to better utilise prunings from parks and gardens and the trees we are loosing daily from our Urban Forest in Perth due to "Urban Infill" and the insatiable desire to have bigger houses on smaller blocks.
|A nice load of Olive wood, which was later made into so many beautiful things.|
|A lovely stool - one of many things made from this Cape Lilac Tree.|
Sharing the Joy of Wood through public Workshops.
Since early 2009 I have been running public workshops in using traditional woodworking hand tools and techniques. Over the years the number and variety of workshops and projects has been steadily increasing. In 2015, this increased considerably due to the commencement of my little experiment I call the Heritage Woodcraft Centre - my dedicated teaching space made possible through an arrangement with Timbecon, in Canning Vale.
|The first of many Spoon Carving workshops held at the Heritage Woodcraft Centre.|
Kids and parents making things together,
in workshops we ran at the Canning River Environmental Education centre.
|Andy tests out the folding shaving horse he made at a Shaving Horse workshop.|
The variety of workshops I offer continues to increase, though there are some favourites, like spoon carving (both green wood and seasoned wood techniques). I plan in 2016 to offer a wider array of workshops and projects as I get the Heritage Woodcraft Centre more set up. It is a work in progress.
|Andrea with the beautiful Lund Stool she made on a Green Wood Stool making workshop.|
|More nice Lund Stools from another green wood stool making workshop.|
|All green wood Spoon Carving starts with some axe work.|
Sharing the Joy of Wood through One-on-One Tuition.
This has been a delightful unexpected benefit from having a dedicated teaching space. Thursdays have emerged as private tuition day, when I have some regular long-term participants and other one-off participants. This includes the evenings as well.
|Palletcraft. Nathan made this planter box with trellis behind, from packing crates.|
|Nathan making an open tool box from recycled material.|
|A couple of great custom Saw Horses made buy the morning guys. Beautiful.|
|The morning guys doing set-out boards to scale as they design their Bar Stools.|
Experiencing the Joy of Wood through my work as a Cabinetmaker/Joiner.
I often feel I am the luckiest bloke alive, as I do restoration/renovation/repair work on lovely old houses, build furniture and joinery for discerning customers, and engage in community projects with my woodworking skills and experience. What a delight it is to work with wood every day: To feel the pleasures of that interaction between wood, mind, body and hand tools; to convert rough looking or old timber into dimensioned material and products of great beauty; and to make a contribution towards a more sustainable existence by recycling timber which would otherwise have gone into land fill.
|Building a beautiful jarrah mantelpiece for Anna's home.|
|Job done. It's a pleasure to do work like this.|
In early 2015, I finished working on Anna's house after a 3 year journey moving from one task/project to the next. Built in the Art Deco Era in the mid 1930's, the original house was enlarged and an additional storey added. What a privilege, to get to do so much on one lovely home over that 3 year period - including the staircase, kitchen, other cabinets, doors, windows, floors, fireplace, pergola, a big ceiling area upstairs, and much more.
|One section of Anna's lovely kitchen, made from WA Blackbutt.|
|Hall Table, made entirely from old jarrah floorboards.|
|Every part of the two drawers were also made from the old floorboards.|
|One of the two carved jarrah signs.|
View of the rear of the house, sporting new tiles on the roof.
Extensive renovation/restoration in progress.
Despite this house being very run down, I am pleased to say the new owners decided to renovate and restore rather than demolish this iconic building. A great decision! So I move into 2016 still working on this lovely and very interesting house. What an honour to get to be so much a part of this fantastic project! There are many challenges and problems to solve in these old buildings, so I reckon they help to keep me sharp.
|Laying and hand nailing down 2nd hand jarrah flooring in the expanded kitchen.|
Bathroom window upstairs. I hung the sashes,
made and fitted the linings, sill and architraves - as per the original style.
I rarely do the workshops and school gigs on my own. I am lucky to have a pool of wonderful people who assisted me on many programs. So I would like to acknowledge and thank Phil, Megan, Shani, Ryan, Anna & Cam for the contribution they have made during 2015. Thanks, Gang! It is a pleasure working with you all.
The connection between people and trees, wood and civilisations, goes back throughout human history to very ancient times. Humanity has a innate connection with wood as a natural material.
The Magic of Making is undergoing a huge resurgence of interest in the western world, as modern people realise we have become enslaved to our screens and high tech interfaces which actually separate us from some basic primal needs and pleasures, and disconnect us from others despite the plethora of social media options. People are coming together to learn traditional skills, like knitting crocheting, cooking, and woodworking - in ways which foster communication and interaction. As we come together to create objects and art pieces both functional and aesthetic, we are building community and helping to heal some of the ills of the modern world.
Traditional Hand Tool Woodworking continues to provide fundamental joy and delightful sensual experiences for so many people of all ages through The Joy of Wood activities across a range of forums.
For those of you who have participated in the last 12 months, thankyou for your support. For those who have not yet engaged in an experience with The Joy of Wood, I invite you to join with us and have a taste of the simple delights on offer. However, be warned - your life may never be the same again!
All the best for 2016,
You can't help but love using a draw knife.
While they have been I use for over 1000 years, this fancy version was patented in the USA in 1895.
I love using it!