Creative Weekend March 29-30, 2014
As woodworkers we mostly beaver away in the privacy of our own workshops where we can stuff-up in private — and without the benefit of immediate moral of technical support. We’re on our own solving problems, often laboriously, and for critiques we rely on family members from whom, for any number of reasons, we might not get a truthful or useful comment.
A Creative Weekend gives you the opportunity to beaver away alongside other beaverers. If you have a technical problem, there’s someone there to help. If you find yourself at a loss as to what to do, you can cruise The Shed to see what the others are up to, and that usually sparks a few ideas. When things go badly wrong someone will help you transform the disaster into a design opportunity. If you’re working through a new idea, immediate input from others usually provides all sorts of insights and possibilities for your particular project.
Those who’d been to similar weekends arrived with boxes of rusty nuts and nails, computer parts, scraps of plumbing pipes and fixtures, rusty barbed wire, abandoned bowls and other turnings, a variety of paints, and sundry bits and pieces some might call junk. By 8.45 on the Saturday morning all this was piled on a couple of tables for anyone to make use of, and while some people got going on projects they’d lined up for the weekend, others were beginning to wonder what they were actually going to do for the day.
Shane Magrath provides a good example of the way things happen at these events. Shane arrived with lots of ideas, sketches, and some 1920’s-style light fittings with which to make an adjustable desk lamp. He claimed ineptitude regards tools and techniques. A discussion group of three or four formed around the sketches, and within minutes it was decided Shane should tackle a simple stick-like structure. This raised a number of considerations regards stability and adjustability, and for ten minutes or so the group played around with short lengths of scrap wood, sorting out a few basic problems, before drifting off to start their own projects. All, that is, except Malcolm Macaulay (who’s an industrial arts teacher on exchange from Canada), who had intended to work on designs for an outdoor bench, but ended up spending the weekend helping Shane make the lamp.
On the neighbouring bench Pat Robinson set up camp with, amongst other stuff, a lump of smooth burl and a bagful of Guinness cans, saved partly for the ping-pong balls within but destined to be flowers. On another bench, Gai Simpson set about creating a wall sculpture involving bus signs, possibly influenced subliminally by Rosalie Gascoigne.
Keen to make a lot of noise and mess, Mark Setter and Roger Gregerson wielded Arbortecs to carve dishes from less than promising lumps of hard hardwood, working around defects with eventually satisfying results. Roger and Gai also got messy with a bit of charring and brushing.
Nutty (Richard Nutt) arrived from Jindabyne with sculpture in mind, welding gear, and a heap of metal, but ended up making a snow plough with attitude, in order to make use of a printer fan on the resource table.
On the lathes were Robin Cromer, Dan Steiner, and Chris Rumley, each working on more traditional projects. Mark also turned a bowl as well as carving two.
Richard Raffan worked on a swinging boat wall hanging he’d had in mind for some years, managing to stay clear of lathes unless called on for advice.
For those of you who might have signed up, but were apprehensive about not having sufficient skills, design ability, or whatever, please note that Gai was metaphorically dragged kicking and screaming to her first Creative Weekend uttering all the usual excuses: I’m not artistic/creative/etc/etc. Gai enjoyed that weekend so much that she organized the next one. If you enjoy making stuff, please think about joining us at the next Creative Event. You might think you’ll just watch, but it’s impossible not to join in. RR
The photo-gallery below highlights some of the creative people and pieces referred to in Richards article.
Click on a photo to enlarge and scroll through the gallery.