“Although Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus and a leading advocate of the modern movement, gave full credit to the influence that Ruskin, Morris and the British Arts and Crafts Movement had on his own development, this acknowledgement was not generally shared. For many years whilst the Modern Movement reigned supreme and concrete machines for living and working were filling our cities, Morris and the handcraftsmen were rather ridiculed as being sentimental and irrelevant, or worse, in some circles, as being detrimental to progress.”
— Alan Peters, “Cabinetmaking: The Professional Approach, Second Edition” (Linden, 2009)
Mike Siemsen at the Mike Siemsen School of Woodworking in Minnesota has agreed to put on a low-cost hand-tool immersion course in June 2016 that is based directly on the two classes I ran in 2015 for new woodworkers who are 35 and younger.
The class will run June 13-17. Attendees will camp and cook on his farm property (just like the class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking). Also good to know: Mike has bathrooms and showers. The cost is an amazingly low $450 for the week. That includes materials and the camping (bring your own tent). If you are 35 or younger, you cannot beat this week-long experience as a way to get started.
Attendees will be fixing up tools, learning about sharpening and building the same tool chest we built at the New English Workshop in Bridgwater, England, and at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I’ve given all my teaching materials to Mike, and it will essentially be the same class, only in a Minnesota accent.
Mike is an outstanding woodworker, a great teacher, funny as hell and crazy generous to be doing this. He has an outstanding shop for this sort of thing and a beautiful farm for camping.
As with the other classes, we would love to have your help getting tools and/or cash donations to help outfit the students. Mike has already had offers of people volunteering to assist him during the class – and he could use a few more assistants. I’ll discuss the tools the students need in a future blog post.
Thanks to Mike for picking up the torch on this important way to give the next generation of woodworkers a fast start.