My workshop is located in our basement, one of five houses adjacent on the south to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. This cluster of homes is surrounded by 20 acres of woods, known locally as Norway Valley which is a remnant of the Big Woods that once spread across much of southern Minnesota. This picture shows the view of the woods as seen from my desk. Much of my wood comes from fallen branches and trees on our property within these woods.
This shows some maple blanks in the process of drying out before sculpting into bowls. Other wood piles in my yard can be seen in the background.
My father was a lumberman so it was natural that I worked as a carpenter on weekends and summers throughout high school and college. I had only limited time for woodworking during my career as a mathematic's professor at St. Olaf College, but when three large old-growth trees fell on our property just prior to my retirement, I had the wood sawn into lumber. My thought was that I would return to woodworking as a retirement hobby, and that is what has happened -- in spades! I began by taking a number of woodworking classes and came to appreciate the precision that fine-crafting requires, as well as the possibilities it opens up for creativity and artistry. Another intrinsic motivation for taking up woodworking was that my recently married children were in need of furniture, so I was happy to use this beautiful wood to make tables and chairs, beds and blanket chests, bookcases and cabinets, and whatever was needed.
When grandchildren came along, I expanded this repertoire to include wooden block puzzles and games, especially those with mathematical overtones. Crafting has become part of our family tradition. Our most treasured gifts for birthdays and Christmas are homemade objects: textiles, ceramics, glass, metal, paper, pictures, wood, and even written or musical compositions. (This family picture was taken during Christmas break, 2014; two grandchildren are missing, one was taking the picture, the other was working.)
WHY THE WEB PAGE?
Three years ago, the Cannon Valley Friends Meeting (Quakers) decided it was time to think about building a Meetinghouse. For some thirty years we had met in homes or in rented spaces, so it was a big decision especially given the small size of our meeting. But we made the committment and moved into our new space in September of last year (2014).
This picture was taken on our first Sunday of occupancy. To help meet our yearly budget I decided to make a variety of crafts to sell at Craft Fairs in the area with all proceeds going to the Meeting. This Web Site is an extension of this beginning: all proceeds will go to the Cannon Valley Friends Meeting. By clicking here you will find my craft-show schedule. My hope is that these crafts will bring others as much pleasure as they've given me.