This is just a quick blog with photos of the first batch of courses in my new venue in the garden at home.
Although the shelter is very open it has coped well with the couple of wet days out of the 23 days of courses so far this season. The lightweight “Coleman shelter’ has worked pretty well keeping off both the rain and the sun for break-times.
The first course from May 16-20th seems so long ago now. Anthony, Liza, Tom and Craig made a spindle-back, each with its own individual touches and two different seating patterns.
June 6-10th proved a highly international event. Although John grew up in England he spent many summer holidays with his grandparents in Finland. Daniel flew from Germany, Steve took a week out of his holiday from New Zealand and Hakan flew in from Sweden. Their spindle-back chairs were all seated with variations on the skein Irish pattern.
June 20-24th saw several new innovations in techniques, thanks mainly to John (the tall one) who built the very effective dryer in the workshop. (I’ll catch up on innovations here in the winter). Alan has spent several years working with his father, my old mate Rod Waterfield, at the Woodland Skills Centre which enabled him to make the more challenging lath-back chair. He had to get back early to attend a woodfair the next day, so Roger, John and Kevin completed their seating without him. (The blue washing line isn’t really running right through Roger and Kevin’s brains).
We returned to the international theme, when Steffie arrived for a 3-day course with her father, Rolf who joined her from his home in Munich. Despite a cold, wet start on the first day, they made all the components for their chair in a day, assembled it next day (in the sunshine) and seated it by tea-time on the 3rd day.
Last week (July 4-8th) we looked through some of my old scrapbooks which again inspired some individual interpretations of the basic spindle-back. Linda selected a couple of curvy front rungs, Stephan was given special dispensation to use the pole-lathe for his front rung, Steve went for the sunrise array with his spindles, while Nick chose an interesting arrangement for his spindles (emulated by Stephan). While Nick and Linda went for a simple twill pattern seat, Steve chose a diagonal pattern to match his spindles and Stephan was inspired by the wavy twill pattern that he saw made last year by Luis, who’s parents, Clare and Mark provided the airbnb where Stephan stayed overnight during the week.
Having ‘retired’ from running woodland courses in 2016, the sessions so far this year at home have proved very successful. So as long as my mind and my body are still capable, I plan to continue running greenwood chair-making courses at Greenwood Cottage for the forseeable future. The remaining 5 courses this summer are currently fully booked but dates for 2017 should be posted this autumn.