Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another Fantastic Earthcarer's Program.

A recent Saturday was a big day but a great day. I had been lined up to run two workshops with a whole bunch of Earthcarers, in the big shed at Perth City Farm. There were 20 places in the morning session, making Kitchen Chopping Boards, and 20 places in the afternoon session, Carving Wooden Spoons - and all 40 places had been filled ahead of the event. I don't usually work with groups that big, and pulling together the extra benches, tools and materials was a huge job. Aah, but we created some wonderful stuff!

Peg warms up the morning group as they gather with anticipation.
Earthcarers are keen recyclers, and the purpose of the program was four fold:
  1. To help the participants learn about trees, understand about wood, and appreciate the importance of wood as a low-energy renewable recyclable sustainable carbon-sequestering material.
  2. To help the participants understand the potential of "waste" wood and its usability.
  3. To empower the participants with some basic skills to be able to utilise some "waste" wood.  
  4. To discover the joy of wood and woodworking, while being creative and having fun.  
Morning Workshop:  Kitchen Chopping Boards from "Waste" Wood.

The proud makers of two chopping boards - One of highly figured jarrah (formerly a piece of hanger beam) and the other of european oak (formerly a piece of pallet).

Nice wood! A lovely board made from Silky Oak - once part of a discarded bookcase.

Delicious board made from european oak - another piece of that pallet. 

Once a piece of pine crate from New Zealand - the mechanically imprinted APSM 15 Mark here cleverly utilised.

Unknown tropical hardwood from a packing crate - now a very nice board.

A beautiful jarrah board taking shape - previously a piece of pergola timber.

Another good lookin' piece of recycled jarrah.
That was just a sample ... so many great chopping boards created from "waste" wood. For many it was the  first time they'd used saws and planes. That was the whole idea - to learn about wood, learn how to utilise it with some basic tool use, and to get excited about the possibilities each piece of wood offers. 

Afternoon Workshop: Wooden Spoons from "Waste" Wood.

There's something wonderful about hand making wooden spoons. Each person needs to establish a working relationship between themselves, the tools and the piece of timber. As you are shaping the wood from so many directions in relation to the grain, with a range of different tools, it is a great way to learn to work with the grain rather than against it. For each person it is an individual journey. For first time woodworkers, it is rare that the finished spoon is just as the maker envisaged or planned at the beginning of the process. Lots of things happen along the way which bring about design changes on the run!  However, the resulting spoons are fantastic expressions of their creator and their journey with the tools and their chosen piece of timber. The makers are normally very very proud of their spoons.

WA Blackbutt makes such beautiful spoons. This piece once lined the ceiling of a bathroom!
Each wonderful spoon is designed and crafted by it's creator. There's plenty to smile about!

A spokeshave is used to shape the back of the spoon bowl. Using all hand tools, you can feel, hear, and smell the wood responding to the tools. It's talking to you all the time. Listen and engage...
A great number of beautiful spoons were made that afternoon. I didn't get many pictures of the finished products, but the beaming smiles on the faces of the participants remain etched on my mind.

There are a few more EarthCarers out there now who have had a small taste of the joy of wood. 

...Yeah, I just love doing this stuff!

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