Yesterday afternoon, as the second week in May began, I watched snow falling outside my office window while entering final grades for the students in my woodturning classes. I guess spring is still on the way.
The classes I teach are offered by Green Mountain College and are one credit “intensives” designed to give students a quick overview of a particular subject.
The students get 14 hours of class time and are responsible for additional work outside of class with the goal being to produce both a turned bowl and a carved spoon. Many of these students have never worked with wood or tools before.
As I reflect on having done this for the last eight years I realize that I have taught woodturning to over 100 students which thrills me! Some took the course out of curiosity and, having satisfied their interest, moved on. Others however, have become bitten and have continued to turn on their own. Several have purchased their own lathes and others intend to.
I am often approached and shown the latest project to come off the lathe. A former student is currently traveling in Europe and emailed me about an opportunity she had to use a pole lathe in England. I got a photo of the honey dipper she made.
All this is immensely satisfying to me. In this world of cell phones and text messages, to give these young adults an opportunity to connect with an old craft and develop a skill that may stay with them for the rest of their lives makes up for the meager financial reward that comes with being an adjunct faculty member. Well…. a little bit anyway.
Here’s a few photos of some of this years work. Congratulations to the makers!