It seemed a little strange this past week or two but progress is after all progress. I’ve spent last few weeks dismantling nearly two year’s of work with the woodworking school and then the garage workshop experiment too. Both have been part of our ongoing success in that for every hammer blow striking the nail there is that seemingly negative energy that pulls the arm holding the hammer back. For plane strokes, saw strokes and scraper swipes it’s the same. As I said, progress seems always to be mostly two steps forward and the occasional one back but be prepared for two and even three back from time to time.
Last week we removed the school with its workbenches and all of the tools we used there and our space will host other creative people with boats, canoes and more. For me it has seemed a little sad, one of those withdrawing reverse strokes at first glance if you will, but then, when I think of the long strides we’ve made into the future of woodworking, I’m in no doubt that our vision widened with the strides and that we’ve become all the more inclusive to all.
The woodworking school, at one time a seeming beginning and end in itself, has now become the stepping stone we needed to prepare for our current work. People came from major countries and cities around the world to the mid sized county of Oxfordshire not knowing where on earth they were coming to. Once they stood around the anchor points of the workbenches for class they somehow seemed settled in. I liked that they did. Standing inside the former garage walls was surreal for them too, as was the studio where most of the films we’re made.
Taking down the walls, I passed them on to a friend to upgrade as his wood storage walls. Seven miles away stands the empty building that’s waiting for us to rehouse our things and start building our future in. It’s a funny thing that it’s not the physical building that’s holding us up but broadband, lawyers, bankers and developer’s agents with computers that now stand between us in finalising our last steps to our new home. There’s a sort of buzz humming away steadily in the background at work. Beyond the buzz of power routers and tablesaws there’s the buzz of our day to day activity as we look at the stats and the stacks of emails, questions and support elements that hover like drones ready for interaction and engagement in the background. The days are never dull because we all have goals to continue building the future of woodworking. So on the one hand, as one set of walls come down, I’ve been watching new walls go up in the new location.
In a week or so our future unfolds in the building of the new studio workshop inside our new building. Yes, the workbenches go with us because our work continues. My taking a sabbatical with the school does not mean less teaching but much more. I am ever aware that it was the past three decades of teaching that paved the way for this path to be ongoing and much of what I have learned in teaching came from time involved with students from all corners of the world. These blog posts are important to keep you up to date with our plans and the progress we make so please sign up for the updates here if you want notifications.