It was a mixed age range at the show and on Friday it was all adults because of school. I think that the show could have been a great field trip for kids to learn about craft as an alternative, but that wasn’t to be. Where are you D&T resistant materials teachers? We could have reached three hundred kids who would have seen some real woodworking perhaps for the first time and get their hands on some sharp planes and stuff. Never mind, perhaps next year you can plan a real in-the-field trip to Harrogate. Write to Mr Ken at the show and see if he’ll give you a student discount or even sponsor the event.
Really, I noticed some young people there on the Saturday and the Sunday but very few indeed. Being as this is now a missed opportunity for parents and grandparents to bring their children to, I recommend you plan a trip to St Asaph for the Woodfest next summer and also to Essex for the European Woodworking Show in the Autumn.
Here at the show those younger people that did come got to get a little hand on to whet their appetites but as I said before, these shows are not geared up for young people so we are experiencing a shortage in the next generation of woodworkers.
My next article for The Woodworker mag is actually well under way and will be in the next issue in a couple of weeks. I hope that you caught the last ones in the December and October issues for those of you in the UK.
This afternoon I was on one of the BBC Wales live shows with Roy Noble and we talked about a range of different aspects of entrepreneurial woodworking and what we can do to help continue inspiring woodworkers, stimulate hand skill workers, conserve skills and so on. We must continue in the quest to help people see any disparity and shortfalls on all levels so we don’t not only lose what we have, but proactively stimulate economies in cottage crafts and industries to bring the businesses back home. Yes, it’ can be hard work but my goal is to somehow see regional centres for training woodworkers foundationally without making them all joiners and construction workers, unless that’s what they want to be.
So this young people that did come by spent time cutting dovetails, planing quartersawn oak and tweaking the levers on some Lie Nielsen planes. This exposure is extremely important and worth our investing. We woodworkers must create a practical counterculture that invites young people in. Join us and do what you can.