To lend a hand to people who are underrepresented in our ranks, I’m teaching a free stick chair class this July for women, BIPOC and GNC (gender non-conforming) woodworkers at our storefront in Covington, Ky. There are six spots in the class, and the scholarship covers both tuition and materials for the chair.
The emphasis of this class is to help create a new generation of woodworkers who teach. We have two spots for students who have some chairmaking experience and want to teach others, and four spots for students with little-to-no chair experience but who have some sort of active teaching practice (elementary school math, academic writing, shop maintenance in educational facility, podcasting, etc).
The class is being organized by Aspen Golann, who runs The Chairmaker’s Toolbox. You can apply for the class via this link. Aspen and Megan Fitzpatrick will be assisting during the week and helping out with the “teaching about teaching” component of the class – sharing advice, war stories and strategies for teaching woodworking in a live environment.
I am thrilled to be able to do this. I am sure some of you have questions. Here are some answers.
Why Not Offer Scholarships to Everyone?
For my first 10 years of teaching, I donated all the royalties from my videos to woodworking scholarships based purely on need. Of all the people I funded, I know of only one recipient who was female. Other free teaching that I do currently (such as at The Florida School of Woodworking) funds both need-based scholarships and scholarships for people who have been historically excluded from our craft.
Bottom line: I’ve funded a ton of scholarships for white guys like myself. For this one class, I’d like to do something different.
How Can I Help?
I rarely ask for help with these things. But I’ve decided to make an exception with this class. I am going to pay for all the material and stock preparation for the students from my pocket. And I’d like to use nice wood, such as cherry. I estimate that the wood for the class will cost between $1,500 and $1,700. If you would like to donate a little money to help, you can click on the donate button below.
If the button doesn’t work (sorry), try this link instead. Or if you prefer to use Venmo, my username is: christopher-schwarz-10.
This is not a tax-deductible donation. This is like tucking a $20 bill into my shorts at the pro shop. (Did that sound weird? Yes.) If I unexpectedly collect more money than needed for the materials, I’ll use the excess to pay for students’ meals during the class.
Thanks to Aspen and everyone who is working to expand the circle of people who love woodworking.
— Christopher Schwarz