Monday, March 25, 2013

The Joy of Wood at the Duck Derby.

Today was the annual Claisebrook Carnival and Duck Derby, 24th March in East Perth. With the able assistance of Phil and Elijah Sparrow, and Rotarians Mark and Jodie, I provided the woodworking activity for the many kids at the event.

The Claisebrook Carnival /Duck Derby is run by the Heirrison Rotary Club as a major fundraiser, with a range of beneficiaries including Telethon.

We were provided with a 9m x9m marquee to run our activity. Amid a variety of other stalls, activities, and performances on the adjacent stage, the pounding of 30 hammers echoed through the delightful Victoria Gardens were we were situated!

Young and old, creating things together.
The sawing station was always busy, with 4 tenon saws at it all day.
A nice boat in the making...
With 30 hammers across the 9 benches, and 4 saws at the sawing station, there were many times when there were families waiting around hoping to get hold of a hammer and a corner on a bench! For much of the day we were flat out, with a constant stream of very amazing creations pouring out of the tent - boats, planes, little houses, dolls furniture, boxes, animals, and so much more!

We went through a lot of wood. All the wood, like my benches, is recycled - wood rescued from the waste stream, and every one of those thousands of blocks has been cut by me! It's mostly "northern hemispherical softwoods" and plywoods derrived from packing crates, supplemented by bits of softwood furniture I have chopped up which I have obtained opportunistically. Unless it rots or is eaten by insects, wood will live forever and can be recycled/re-used indefinitely. What a wonderful natural material.  Oops... soapbox alert! Sorry. Now where were we? Oh, yes...

As well as kids getting an opportunity to use hand tools and express creativity with their hands, there was lots of great stuff going on with mums, dads, grandparents and others being creative with their kids and doing things together.
All that wood, and so many possibilities!
I am also fascinated with the many conversations I have at these activities with adults regarding their childhood experiences, memories, tools, and sometimes a sense of loss in the midst of all this. Many a parent or grandparent's emotions are stirred by seeing all those kids in the tent making things with wood, as it digs up memories of their own childhood experiences "out in the shed" with their own father or grandfather and it touches something deep within.

It was great to be at the Duck Derby today providing hundreds of kids and their families with the opportunity to have a creative experience just with wood, hammers, nails and saws.

If any kid goes home and asks "Have we got a hammer?" then I am very pleased.

If any parent or grandparent goes home with a determination to engage with the children in their lives in creative ways with wood and tools, then I am particularly pleased.

Viva la revolution!  

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