Saturday, August 29, 2009

Group Magic – Sharing is the key to learning

Last month (July 2009), I taught a 5-day hands-on Woodturning Workshop at Craft Supplies in Utah. It was an incredible learning experience for all of us!

We started with a group orientation, and stating our individual goals for the class. Sharpening, tool control, and design were all high on the list.

My goal is to share to what I know, and to help each participant to achieve their own goals for the class.

The first day, we did a tool control exercise, using push cuts to create the 3 basic shapes that make vessel forms. We then spent the rest of the day turning vessel forms. No hollowing, just lots of vessel shapes out of nice, easy, fun wood to turn.

Day two started with a spindle exercise, and then on to making finials for our vessels. The idea of these first two days is to loosen up and get into the woodturning groove.

At our daily group critiques, we explore how to look at our work. For me, group critiques are the best part. Something magical happens when we start sharing ideas with each other. Learning how to look at our work and see both success, and room for improvement, is one of the most difficult skills for artists to learn. And it is essential if our work is to keep progressing.

On Wednesday we made my signature “Fabulous Finial Box” as a group. All of that exercise and practice really paid off! The Finial Box is a complicated and demanding project. After some “design opportunities”, and miraculous recoveries, everyone had a completed Finial Box.

For the last two days of class, everyone was encouraged to follow their own inspiration. It was a bit chaotic, but we had some incredible creative energy flowing. There were 4 or 5 different projects going at once: Mushroom boxes, Square Bowls, experiments with brightly colored dyes, more Finials, and Hollow Vessels.

A couple of the participants hollowed a vessel for the first time. Thanks to the Jamieson Captured Hollowing System, the hollowing process was a relaxing and successful experience!

Myself, I was in heaven watching, and helping, everyone explore different projects and techniques. Such marvelous individual, creative expression! I always get such a charge out of teaching a woodturning class!

After 5 intense days of serious Woodturning, I was pleased to see turning and sharpening techniques improve. Everyone picked up new ideas and new ways of looking at, and improving, their work.

We all left inspired. And, most important of all, we have made some new friends in the world of woodturning. Sharing is the key to learning!

To read about one participant’s experience, check out Katherine Kowalski’s blog post from August 3, 2009:

If you missed this class, be sure to catch me next time! Look for my upcoming demonstrations and classes on the “Itinerary” page on my website:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment! I'd love to hear what you're thinking!