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My creative workspace – from negative to positive

I am older now and wonder more about issues of order. I realise that without a plan I rarely accomplish what needs to be done. Plans first develop order and most planning revolves around negative or unoccupied space. Parameters for creative workspace are not so much about the largeness of empty space and occupying the wholeness of that space but the confinement governed by efficient workability. Creating order is often something the individualist artisan resists as much as cleaning up and putting things away. Factors that govern many decisions are purpose, staff numbers, methods of production and things of that nature. In this case, the new New York Workshops are multi use. For twelve months we will be having staff training so that each adult apprentice becomes a competent furniture maker and woodworker in his own right. Parallel to that the support for the school will be provided by these apprentices. Other dynamics affecting my creative workspace will be my teaching associate woodworkers on a very local basis, friends I have known for many years and who have already developed skills through former training using my program. My friends have been teaching their own children and children of friends for a number of years and so the school is first a production workshop making furniture, a teaching facility for adults travelling in for training through my modules and also for young woodworkers of varying age levels. I must also have the ability to photograph, write and of course film. Planning my workspace must then facilitate all of these needs.

I sit back from time to time and think about the ingredients I need to accommodate. Making and teaching, writing, photography, filming and so on all require the same equipment and tools I use daily so I situate my bench considering these issues. On the other side of the wall are the machines and so I want to be near to the machine shop doors so that when I am here in the US I have close access.





The newly completed school workbenches serve for everything I have mentioned above. The overall workspace of the workshop accommodates sixteen students and my own workbench teaching/work area. Outside of class times the benches will be moved to the walls to create half a dozen creative workspaces for furniture making, or whatever.

My mind races ahead to rocking chairs and dining tables, four-poster beds and silverware boxes in oak and walnut, ash, cherry and mesquite. I’m excited new genre woodworkers will soon emerge and my investment will realise new fruition.


  1. Tico Vogt on 9 April 2012 at 5:07 am

     I see the breakfast menu for Eli’s in Schuylerville. Great place to eat!

  2. Jeremy on 9 April 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Paul, do the workbeches have a finish on them, or is that luster from planing? Also, I noticed it lookes like there are square pegs on the face of the workbenches. Just curious, I will be making mine soon.

  3. Mick Alexanander on 18 April 2012 at 4:22 pm

    One sentence leapt out of your April 9th blog, Paul, namely; “for twelve months we will be having staff training so that each adult
    apprentice becomes a competent furniture maker and woodworker in his own
    right.” May I ask, what are the chances of this kind of opportunity in Wales? I would very much like to become a competent furniture maker and woodworker in my own right.
    Looking forward eagerly to the Foundational Two course at Penrhyn in May.

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