Last week, Welsh chairmaker Chris Williams returned to the United States to teach a couple classes and work on some supplemental photography for his forthcoming book “The Life & Work of John Brown.” (Due out next year, knock wood.)
Working with Chris is always a blast of chairmaking, stock prep, talking, planning, arguing, asking questions and generally giving each other the business about how the other makes chairs. Plus beer.
In fact, it’s so time-consuming that I’ve barely had time to do anything else (except prepare a couple hundred handles for lump hammers).
When Chris arrives, he always brings a big dose of Welsh culture to the shop – this year he brought along a Welsh flag to help set the mood for the class. He’s even tried to teach us a few more Welsh words, though the only one I can remember sounds like the words “bad TV” to my American ears.
And we are hoping to give him an equal dose of American craft culture. Last year we took him deep into Eastern Kentucky to explore the roots of chairmaker Chester Cornett. This year we plan to take him up to a huge Amish community in Ohio to revel in their sawmills, excellent fried chicken and cheesemaking. Oh, and maybe some old tools.
But before we can have any fun, we have to complete six chairs with some eager and talented students.
— Christopher Schwarz