As many of you know, Chris Williams is writing a book (Kieran Binnie is the co-author) about the 10 years he spent with Welsh chairmaker John Brown, who was Chris’s mentor and friend. The book, which is well underway, will detail John Brown’s woodworking life using Chris’s personal story, interviews with woodworkers all over the world and 20 of John Brown’s best columns for Good Woodworking magazine.
In addition to the narrative of this influential woodworker and writer, the book will detail how John Brown built his chairs using the techniques and patterns handed down to Chris.
This is not the same chair shown in John Brown’s book “Welsh Stick Chairs.” That chair was one of his early forms. After more than a decade of work, the design of John Brown’s chairs evolved into something else entirely. Something spectacular, really. Readers of Good Woodworking got a glimpse of these chairs in the 1990s, and these later chairs are what made me take up the tools and make chairs myself.
To help re-introduce this style of chair to North America, we hope to bring Chris to our shop here in Covington, Ky., May 21-25, 2018, to lead a group of six woodworkers in building this chair. The class would be held in our storefront on Willard Street. Because of the intense nature of this class, we would encourage participants to have some chairmaking experience under their belts (or a lot of experience with handwork).
The Cost of the Class
The class would be $1,500 for the week plus a small fee for materials. This is a considerable expense for a week-long class, so an explanation is in order. For starters, this will be an intimate class – just six students, one instructor and an assistant (me). It will be a different experience than schools that have 12, 18 or even 30 students in a class. Second, we have to get Chris and his tools to Kentucky all the way from Wales. And, most importantly, we have to make it worth his while. This is not a Lost Art Press venture. Neither I nor Lost Art Press will make a dime off of this event. All the proceeds go to Chris to support his important work.
In addition to learning to make this gorgeous chair, participants also will learn a lot about John Brown. Chris is filled with great stories about the man that could be pried loose with a pint or a glass of wine.
Covington is a nice little city in the shadow of downtown Cincinnati. And the shop is walking distance to lots of hotels, restaurants, breweries and two of the best bourbon bars in the United States. The storefront is a great place to work – lots of natural light and workbenches.
We’ll be able to provide participants a list of nearby hotels and AirBnBs that range from $65 a night and up. Our shop is a 10-minute drive the Cincinnati International Airport (CVG) and we’re just a few blocks from I-75.
But before we plow forward on bringing Chris here, we’d like to hear from you. If you are interested in participating in this event, please leave a comment below. This will help us judge the interest among woodworkers. Thanks in advance for your help.
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Personal note: No, I’m not opening a school; nor am I returning to teaching. What do I get out of this? I get to watch Chris work and listen to his stories about John Brown, which will make me a better editor for the book. Plus, this class will help expose woodworkers to a fantastic chair design.