When Kieran Binnie died by suicide in April, I had to take some time to think it over. I’ve had other friends and family leave the world this way, and there is a lot of anger, confusion, regret and loss to digest. At least there is for me.
Kieran and I met in 2014 when he was a student in an “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” class in England. While I try to keep a professional distance from students when I teach, I immediately bonded with Kieran over music – both playing it and listening to it – as well as the normal stuff (woodworking, tools and beer).
And it wasn’t just an international fling. Kieran and I kept in close touch since that class, meeting up in person a few times at woodworking events and classes – and always trading music recommendations back and forth. As well as staying in touch online.
At the time of his death, Kieran and I were working on a book together about the intertwined history of books and bookshelves and bookcases. I don’t know if I have the strength to complete that project on my own, but I do want something good to come out of his death.
Shortly after Kieran’s funeral, I talked with Rachel Moss, Kieran’s wife, about something we could do together that would help the craft, help build community (a very important thing to Kieran) and help people who might be struggling with mental illness.
I immediately thought of JoJo Wood and Sean, who run Pathcarvers in Birmingham – the same city where Kieran lived. Pathcarvers is a special organization that helps bring woodcraft to segments of the population that might not ever experience it, including people in drug and alcohol rehab, prisons, mental health services and those with low incomes. They do this in addition to offering courses to the public at large.
Rachel and I decided that Pathcarvers was a perfect fit for our efforts. And so I am pleased to announce The Kieran Binnie Memorial Fund for Craft. This fund goes directly to Pathcarvers to support their work. No administrative fees. No strings attached. This money will expand the courses that Pathcarvers offers and fund tuition for people who cannot afford it.
Pathcarvers has opened a GoFundMe page here. If you are interested in helping others through craft, I can promise that your money will be put to good use.
Please take a moment to read about Pathcarvers here. Plus some of the people who teach courses there (and have been themselves helped by the programs) here. And if you can donate – even a little – please do.
— Christopher Schwarz