As the sun set over the trees last night I felt the rewards of an honest day’s work. It was one of the busiest days I have had since my US tour began, with many wonderful people looking for practical ways to work wood. There were highlights, but for the main part it was a steady stream of amateur woodworkers striving for higher levels of woodworking and looking for ways to get there. All my presentations were filled to capacity with the aisles taking the standing-room only stance once the demo’s got going. Dovetails and inlays were always well received but so too advice on how to fettle the #4s and saws. Today is my last day for the show here in Virginia, but I will start preparing for the Northeast Woodworkers Association Show (NWA) in Saratoga Springs, which takes place at the end of March.
It was nice to have my tools stowed in my new toolbox and drawers again. I also started making a second box during the show so that when I go to Saratoga Springs I will have everything in place. I will be demonstrating at the show and as usual we will present the Real Woodworking Campaign as an alternative for woodworkers to master new skills. People are seriously looking for ways to gain practical working skills after half a century of being bombarded by machine makers. The simplicity of handwork is critical to the future generations of handwork and it’s up to us to ensure these skills and ways of working wood are available to children. If we don’t, there will be no next generation of woodworkers but a generation of machinists thinking they are woodworkers.
So, as the sun rises on the City again and a Sunday morning unfolds beyond the bed sheets and hotel rooms, I find myself thinking of the past and looking to the future of young woodworkers. I didn’t see very many at the show or indeed the shows past. Last night there were a couple there, I enjoyed seeing their faces captivated by my demonstration. One came over ands said the presentation was “awesome.” He was 12 years old. Who knows what a one-hour demo will do. In my mind, most of those attending had the heart of a 12 year old. That’s what it takes to become an artisan, a young heart and an eager mind. Age is inconsequential when you think about it.