The woods drew me from the workshop for an hour’s lunchtime walk today and I was amazed at shifts that evidence the ever-changing sphere I live and create in. Blossom-filled trees slowed me down to think about men like Doug Stowe in Eureka Springs in Arkansas, a craftsman investing himself in the lives of young people at the school he teaches them in. It takes something to single out a chunk of time on a regular basis to spread the news about how we work wood. Then I start thinking about my friend Robin Wood in the middle of the Peak District in Derbyshire, which like Eureka Springs Arkansas, compared to the rest of the world, is in the middle of nowhere, and how he masterminded the Heritage Crafts Association, (I have been to and lived in both regions from time to time, I mean Eureka Springs and Edale) and I see the passion that drives my fellow woodworkers both sides of the great Atlantic Ocean to make a difference and invest in the future. It costs something to do this.
I reflected on these things throughout the day and I feel that sense that these men care about future. The care about preserving the best of the past, working with the present and hoping in the future. They do what they believe will be of value. Seeds are best preserved in the planting and not stored in glass jars in a dark cellar.
Beyond these austere castle walls at Penrhyn Castle we have already trained dozens and dozens of new woodworkers from around the UK, Europe and North America. I have a new apprentice that started last week, Phil Adams, I am considering another to come later in the year and have plans for more training in the US, beyond the US Schools and Masterclasses. Please remember that we give one free class per every eight students on our three-day courses, so, please, if you know someone who would benefit from this please let them know. Also, I have new trip planned for the US in a couple weeks to teach my month-long class. This means we make a two-drawer tool chest, a coffee table and a rocking chair in just four weeks with no power tools at all. Quite a challenge but it’s not new to us.