There is a lot more to New Legacy courses than most may realize. We are not new to the concepts of training new-genre woodworkers, I began to train others in 1988 but I was, am and always will be a maker first. I never did teach as a career teacher. How others become experts matters to me. Apprenticeships like mine will never be again, yet there are many who would choose that multi-year path if the conclusion was to become a competent and skilled artisan. It was never an easy path and I don’t know if they would have wanted the hard times it took to stay in the saddle, but character is formed on the anvil of adversity. I wouldn’t change a thing.
In the last two weeks I made new relationships around my workbench with a mixed group. Three doctors and a nurse, a programmer, a new school leaver, a retired accountant and a marketing strategist. Oh, and of course a banker. Age became of no concern, ethnic origins and gender made no difference. We just spent time working through any and all issues surrounding wood until a box, a bookshelf and a table resulted from the perseverance it took to build them. Most of the time was serious but we did laugh and smile too. I could count back through the 25 years since this all began, but I lost track of proper counting at just 4,000 students and that was about five years ago.
To me it’s all about passing on my skills from my 50 year past engaged in full time woodworking. To my students it’s more about trust and finding truth about woodworking. They want to get to the heart and the art of working wood and for them, hand tools does it.
It’s hard to imagine the developments taking place when they happen in class, but comparing the beginning to the end is a point of reference for me alone. The sense of fulfillment viscerally defies human logic. Maths cannot calculate it nor science plumb its depths. The written word seems so shy of content as I look and see warmth radiate in pairs of eyes and smiles and movements of muscles moving skin that stretches expressively to connect with others around us. I never lose interest in this cause and effect only humans can express and feel. You see we were born to grow and bake and make things that bring life from life through sustainment beyond conveyor belts and economic systems. Here I find people discovering a new life beyond their personal norm and becoming what they always respected and wanted to be. The benches were filled and emptied of shavings and chips and projects and tools. None of this would I trade for money or to be left alone in my own empty workshop. Workshops, creative workspaces, are meant to be shared.