Center For Furniture Craftsmanship
After taking a few classes based around specific woodworking techniques, I thought it would be nice to find an opportunity where I could test drive some of my new skills. I found just such a class at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship recently and signed on to make "Sculptural Clocks."
Located by the coastal village of Rockport, Maine, the Center is an hour and a half drive from the Portland airport. You will definitely need to rent a car, as there is not much food or lodging close to the school. (Speaking of which, be sure to ask about the Market Basket for yummy gourmet sandwiches.) Lodging can be arranged through the school if you like the idea of renting a room in someone's house, which proved to be cozy and cost-effective. Otherwise, there are a few hotel and motel options in the area.
Before I journeyed to Rockport, Carter Sio, the teacher of the Sculptural Clocks class, emailed me and the two other members of the class to welcome us and let us know what we would need to bring. Once we arrived, Carter, who is the Director of the George School Woodworking and Design Program in Newton, Pennsylvania, gave a slide presentation covering several clock ideas, as well as demonstrations of different surface decorating techniques. By the time we sat down to draw up some designs, we were amply prepared.
By taking a "Sculptural" approach to clock making and woodworking, Carter encouraged us to "think of clocks as three-dimensional, playful, and expressive objects that convey more than the time of day." He also recommended using found objects and different techniques for texture and color, in order to experiment with our clocks. One of the students in the class responded to this challenge by cutting out part of an old buoy and inserting the clock mechanisms.
The nice thing about making clocks is that it is less of an investment in terms of time and materials, lending more room to try new ideas. With my clock designs, I wanted to use a lot of surface techniques, particularly since I had recently learned how to gild. This was the perfect opportunity to experiment with that technique. I also picked up a tool I hadn't used before, but was eager to try. Using a Dremel rotary tool, I created pock marks undulating over the face of my clock. It also did a nice job of smoothing the edges of the copper clock hands I made.
I happened to be in Maine during the annual State Fair, which was quite a treat. I witnessed the crowning of the Lobster Queen, and ate my fill of lobster and other seafood delights. Another highlight occurred after the last day of class, when the Center offered up a potluck party complete with their celebrated game of croquet and, of course, more lobster.
Although Maine is a little chilly, the air is fresh and they have a great, intricate recycling program. The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship was an enduring experience. It was very exciting to have the freedom to experiment within a classroom setting, and I will display my clocks proudly.
For more information on the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship call 207.594.5611 or check out www.woodschool.org