When we began walkarounds this year I asked the students each week to read a chapter from Jim’s books and reflect on what it meant to them in their work. This past week we reflected on Composing - Another Approach to Design from The Impractical Cabinetmaker, which incidentally is one of my personal favorites. I remember reading it for the first time and feeling as though a weight had being lifted from my shoulders, as if I had been given permission to take a sensitive and impractical approach to my work. The following is passage was referenced by more than one of my students.
“As long as it feels right and you enjoy it, you should believe in what you are doing. Don’t let yourself be sidetracked by doubtful onlookers, people who say, “That's not exciting, you don’t know where you’re going with all those pick and pock details. You’re wasting your time.” At such moments, know yourself, remember you are feeling good working this way. Maybe it’s a nice way to “waste” time…” - James Krenov
While I realize it has been sometime since my last entry, I thought you might enjoy a few thoughts and images of some wonderful work being undertaken by our students at the school this year.
Second year student Joshua Edwards from London presented his reproduction of Jk’s silver chest to the class last month. The cabinet was made using Jim’s drawings and information Jim passed along to us during his lectures. In addition to Vidar’s chair and the silver chest, Joshua has moved onto a showcase cabinet on a stand in Kauri Pine and locally harvested Deador cedar and has made outstanding progress. The stand will be made of a sweet piece of Imbya.
Second year student, Brendan Johnson, is in the process of completing his chair and has begun the selection of wood for a small cabinet in doussie and fishtail oak. Brendan is a gentle spirit with a good eye and passion for craft. He is also has a talent for working with stone. He incorporated jade pulls in his last piece.
Eupho Kubota from Japan has a cabinet on a stand underway in Papua New Guinea Walnut and myrtle. The cabinet is made of Papua New Guinea walnut and myrtle panels. Eupho never seems to hurry, and yet he gets a lot done and done exceptionally well. We are grateful to have this fine young craftsman join us this fall as he begins his second year of study.
Marty Kenney from Seattle is making reproduction of Jk’s chair side table in Honduras mahogany. He finished the joinery for the drawer on Friday. Marty is shown here with the chair side table during a recent walkaround. The table has side-hung drawers that can be accessed from either side and will have double let go. That is the middle of the drawer pocket is slightly wider than the openings and this double taper is planed into the drawer.
Oren Feigenbaum from Israel stands beside his cabinet on a stand made from narra and locally harvested curly and spalted big leaf maple. The cabinet began as a reproduction of Jk’s cabinet ‘Thirteen’ however as Jim used to suggest the wood has its way of changing things and while the proportions are very similar some of the shaping and graphics have been considered in the evolution of the piece. The ‘birds feet’ are attached to the stand using bridal joints on a curve, where the final fitting is done with his wooden smoother made in the second week of the program.
Mike Weremczuk from Edmonton has his writing table in French walnut assembled and is currently working on the surfaces and edge treatment of the top before he turns his attention to the drawer and runners which he resawed last week and are currently settling on his bench.
Peter Flaxman from New York is making a challenging cabinet with integrated stand in locally harvested curly and spalted maple and kwila. Peter has done and exceptional job with the graphics of this piece. Peter will be returning this fall for a second year of study, upon completion, Peter will be the first student who will have gone through the Artisan, Resident Artisan, Craftsman and Resident Craftsman programs at the school. Yvonne and I are very grateful to have Peter back again this fall.
Second year student Raul Favela from Mexico is nearing the completion of a rather large wall cabinet in Iroko. The surfaces have been planed and burnished to a flawless finish. Raul is also making an Afromosia stand for his completed display cabinet in boxwood and European sycamore. Raul and his family will be dearly missed at the school. We are pleased that they will be staying on in Roberts Creek. Raul has set a fine example for our first year students and keeps us entertained.
Walker from Calgary shown here setting the knives in one of our General planers, has begun the assemblies for a cabinet on a stand in gumwood and Papua New Guinea Walnut. Students interested in learning machine maintenance are given the opportunity on an ongoing basis. Students who take on veneer work at the school make their own lumber core. This is something we began doing several years back. The result is flat, stable substraights with solid wood where joinery and hardware is attached. We also have less plywood offcuts in the landfill. All of cuts are reused or heat our home. We are grateful to have Walker return this fall for a second year of study. Walker got a bit of a late start to his Passage exercise, however as shown good focus and is making wonderful progress.
Morgan Miller from Toronto is doing some exceptional work on the Upward Spiral exercise and will be staying on this summer to complete the Craftsman Program before returning this fall for a second year of study. His dovetails in beech are among the best we have seen this year.
Peter Freeman from Calgary is nearing the completion of a cabinet on a stand of entirely locally harvested woods, including catalpa, myrtle, Gary oak, locust and horse chestnut. Peter began with on of Jk’s cabinets as a starting point and has composed a stand, which takes into effect the grain in the side of the cabinet.
Marjolein Hermans from Belgium is making a veneered cabinet in Olive and Shedua with White Oak interior and Afromosia stand. Marjolein is a fine you craftsman from Belgium who will be returning this fall for a second year of study at Inside Passage. The rebate where the doors meet, follow the curve in the olive, to do otherwise was distracting; all part of the composing process.
Akihiko Oshima of Japan is working on a cabinet on a stand of pear and Bubinga. The cabinet is nearly complete and includes lumber core for all panels including his curved doors. The stand will be made of bubinga and includes five sided legs and curved drawer fronts. Aki enjoys his work and it shows.
Second year student Jay Miron of Vancouver is nearing the completion of his cabinet on a stand in kwila and doussie with beech and locally harvested cypress drawers and cocobolo post and bail handles. The bails are curved and thus required square tenons to eliminate the chance of them rotating. Jay will be wrapping the seat of his Claro walnut chair this coming week, which he completed last month. Jay has been busy preparing to setup a shop in Vancouver.
Candice Smith of Vancouver is fitting the floating tenon joinery for her writing desk in English Walnut. The desk features a curved edge joint in the top. Laminated aprons and a drawer with a carved pull. Candice is a graduate of our Artisan program and will be returning this fall for a third round of study at the school. It has been such a pleasure watching her incredible development as a craftsman.
Second year student Melissa Moure Evans of Smithers is making a reproduction of Jk’s carved curves in Black limba. Mellissa, shown above with Candice has the shaping of her cabinet nearly complete. She has the frame and panel already made, and will be moving on to the shaping of the doors this coming week. Yvonne and I are so grateful to have this fine young craftsman join our team this fall when she takes on the role of a teaching assistant at the school. Students returning this fall recognize her gentle approach to our craft and people.
The school is now available to our students from 7am-11pm seven days a week. On the 23rd of April we welcome back alumni Jacques Breau who will be assisting us leading up to the exhibition. Jacques graduated from the Craftsman Program in 2007 and has returned to the school each year to assist. AT that time, students will have access to the school twenty-four seven for the final two weeks and will have access to a teacher from 7am-11pm as they prepare for the exhibition which takes place Saturday May 5th from 6-9pm at the Roberts Creek Community Hall. The following day there will be an alumni brunch at the Gumboot Restaurant at 11pm following cleanup of the hall. Yvonne and I are very grateful to have such a large group of alumni returning, some even with pieces. Students from each year will be represented including Kylle Sebree 2010-2012 and his wife Hailey will be joining us all the way from San Diego California.
Congratulations to alumni Meredith Nichole with yet another well done article in Canadian Woodworking magazine featuring work done almost exclusively by our students, alumni and faculty. Congratulations also go out to alumni Doug Ives who’s work also appears in the same addition. Jason Klager and Steve Neil have also had articles published in this Canadian publication.
On May the 28th we begin our Artisan Program with participants traveling from as far of as Ireland and Australia to join us for seven weeks at our small school, dedicated to the teachings of my teacher, James Krenov. We are also pleased to announce that Craig Johnson 2008-2009, one of the finest craftsmen to come out of the school will be returning for the Journeyman Program. The seven-week chair-making program is new at Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinetmaking available to graduates of our Craftsman Program.