Visiting George Washington's Mount Vernon home is usually a memorable trip for those who appreciate history; however, doing preservation work on the mansion is an entirely different experience. Preservation activities are a fact of life at the mansion, and have been for the 160 years that the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association has owned the house. Amy McAuley, one of this year's exhibitors at the Early American Artisans Fair, is one of many skilled craftspeople working on the mansion using tools and skills much more common to the 18th century. She'll be bringing her experience and tools with her to the November show.
Growing up in Ayacucho, Peru, which has been around since about 1540, Fredy Huamán Mallqui had been surrounded by a rich history including centuries-old architecture and a legacy of craftsmanship. He started learning from master carvers at nine years old and was later trained by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture to conserve fine objects dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After coming to the US in 2012, Fredy has done work for Fair Lane, the former home of Henry and Clara Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, and designed and carved the decorative elements for the replica of the 1914 Estey Organ, in collaboration with The Schantz Organ Company.
There's another side to woodworking beyond the kiln-dried-flat-and-square that we find in modern furniture making. Before the kiln and before the sawmill is the beginning of green woodworking, when the wood is still wet. From this arises common objects like joined furniture and chairs, but also bolws, spoons, kuksas, shrink pots, and so much more; each object a reflection of the material it's made from and bearing the facets and textures of the tools used to create it.
Dave Fisher, who joins us at this year's Early American Artisans Fair, is a Pennsylvania bowl carver who is well-known in the green woodworking field. His style is recognizable as his own and is the result of over twenty years of learning, listening, and doing.
lu·thi·er (noun): a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars; see also Doug Unger. Doug grew up in Ohio, trained as a fine art painter, is a musician, and is widely know for his work as a luthier and teacher. His instruments are highly valued and appreciated for the detail and genuine craftsmanship that he injects. However, his willingness to share his knowledge and craft with other builders and musicians may be a contribution to music that's just as valuable. Doug is one of the artisans joining us this year at the Early American Artisans Fair in November.
Coming in early November is our inaugural Early American Artisans Fair featuring the works of contemporary artisans from Ohio and surrounding regions. Andrea Durnell is one this year's artisans. Andrea is a multimedia artist who creates carved wooden animals from fallen wood and incorporates antique materials to complete them. Her work is influenced by the personification of animals often seen in 19th century American culture, but expressed through the personality she finds hiding within the shape of the wood that defines each creature.
Ok, yes, that sounds gimmicky, but buying rough-sawn lumber from a sawmill can be much more affordable than buying dimensioned hardwood from the home center. Buying rough-sawn lumber opens up a world of new lumber species to you in various widths and lengths. Most sawmills are locally owned and operated, so you’re supporting folks in your own community. While you could take the money you save and buy a thickness planer and edge jointer to process your new lumber, learning how to flatten, thickness, and square a board by hand with hand planes is quieter, less dusty, reliable, and satisfying.
Early American Artisans Fair
November 1 and 2, 2019
Harvest Ridge Event Center; Millersburg, OH
The Artisans Guild in Millersburg is hosting a contemporary artisans show this fall that features the work of practicing artisans and craftspeople from Ohio and surrounding regions. Artisans featured in this year’s show represent the following disciplines:
We’ve added a new dovetail class to the calendar on Saturday, October 19, 2019.
In this one day class, Charles Murray, walks students through the process of laying out, cutting, and assembling of through, half blind and tapered dovetails by hand. Dovetails are commonly a measure of quality construction, and hand cut dovetails usually stand out above machine dovetails in aesthetics.While the steps involved are basic (squaring stock, layout, sawing, chopping), the woodworker needs to understand the anatomy of the joint in order to coordinate each operation with the next. Charles can help you diagnose problems before they turn into bad habits, helping you lay a strong foundation for learning and improving your dovetails.
More details on the class, including prerequisites and a tool list, can be found on the Hand Cut Dovetails registration page.
These are the classes and events upcoming in the next four week period (Sep. 1 - Sep. 28, 2019):
Our full class calendar is always available here.
Have a great week!