Kevin Shea photography

At IPSFC students are provided with 24/7 access to the school, giving them every opportunity to immerse themselves in the craft. While our school does not neglect the use of machines, there is an emphasis here on the use of fine handtools made or modified specifically to our work, becoming essentially, extensions of our hands. Outside the teaching hours, students are encouraged to invest a minimum of thirteen hours per week of ‘Amateur Development’. While Websters defines Amateur as one who engages in a pursuit, on an unpaid rather than a professional basis. We have adopted Jim’s definition, one who pursues and approaches the work from love of the work and our chosen material. Our craft is all about relationships, the work of the hand the eye, and the heart. It’s about the intimate connection between the wood, the tools, the details and the craftsman.

I have always maintained that students will learn as much about the craft and themselves outside teaching hours as they will in any lectures given at the school. That said, Saturdays, are my favourite day of the week. After spending the early morning hours in my own workshop. I stroll down to the school at 8:30am and present one of the nearly two hundred and fifty lectures Jim provided our students at the school. Accompanying each lecture is a slideshow featuring work from Jim’s archive that he passed along to the school when he cofounded the school in 2005, and offered to serve as an advisor which he did until his death in the fall of 2009. He left us his words, and images of his work, and left his fingerprints on our school and our hearts. This is a special time at the school, setting us up for the work in the quiet hours.

"Wanting to be a craftsman, or a woodworker, there are, I believe limited choices. The emphasis these days is on novelty, efficiency with very little individual contribution; many schools follow this trend. There are relatively few schools, in fact very few schools that educate a person to become a complete craftsman in wood. One of the schools I have been following and observing is at Roberts Creek in Canada, it is called Inside Passage School. I know the people there, I like what they are doing and I like very much the way they are doing it. The emphasis is on hand skills, not primitive methods but efficient skills. Work that that can be traced to the maker, the hand, the eye and the heart. The staff is open and warm and generous and there is an opportunity there at Roberts Creek to develop the skills that support this approach. In fact the kind of work that I have for many years encouraged, the craftsman as an individual. I think that this will emerge gradually as the school for the complete craftsman. If I were starting my life today as a craftsman, and needed to learn what matters the most; my choice would be Inside Passage School." - James Krenov

Welcome to the

Impractical Cabinetmaker Program