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School, Shop, and a course!

While dealing with my injured elbow this past summer, I’ve had a lot of time to consider how I’m showing up for myself in my career. Honestly, retrospectively, the past ten years has been riddled with questions, so it’s really nothing new. I’ve been trying this and that, seeing what sticks and what doesn’t, wondering what I like to do. Am I a bowl carver? Am I a spoon carver? Do I just paint stuff? Do I carve animals? Should I work somewhere else? Who am I and how does what I make fit into everything else?

I think all this questioning is good to certain extent. It shows that I care and I want to approach life with integrity. But it can also be a crutch when I don’t believe in myself, and it’s always easy to fall into comparing myself with other “successful” artisans. Although- you chair-makers seem to have it figured out. Too bad compound angles give me compounding anxiety.

What I’m saying is, I’ve learned a lot. I’m continuing to learn a lot. I thinking learning is 75% of why (in-spite of self-sabotage) I continue to circle around to craft, and that commitment to learning is part of the reason I’m going back to school through University College Dublin. Don’t panic, I'm not leaving the US (again). It’s online, and although living in Dublin would be quite fun, I’m done traveling for a while. Just to prove my point, I ordered garlic to plant this fall. Bulbs aside, the course I’m in is a Graduate Certificate in Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture. It’s 30 credits and lasts until next summer. Basically, it almost feels as if the universe said, “Oh, what do you want, Amy? How about a course that is about everything you’re interested in and you can still work and grow garlic with your dog?” Thanks, Universe. More please. I’m going to try my best to write a blog post or two about it for those who are interested, if I can make it out from all the reading material that has been raining down on me. So keep your eyes peeled.

The second bit of VERY exciting news is that I’ve moved all my tools into ONE LOCATION. I can hardly believe it. Rumor has it that having your tools under one roof makes that building a “shop”. So, I think its safe to say I have one!! Thanks, Universe. More please. The building is on the farm, and it used to house coal on one side and a smoke house on the other. Since neither side has been used for those purposes in living memory, I decided that I could remove the center wall and have enough room to be my crafty self inside its hallowed frame. For anyone who follows me on Instagram this is a different building than the one I started to clean out in 2020. That one has some sill issues that I didn’t feel confident about and it was going to be a lot of work. Even though this building is half the size: 10 ft. x 12 ft. , I’m very happy with it and have already starting thinking of ingenious storage solutions. Anyone have ideas for a shop sign? It is quite small..and quaint. Every time I step into my new space I hear Barliman Butterbur say, “If you’re looking for accommodation, we have some nice, cozy, hobbit-sized rooms available...”

I think I’ll stay, Barliman. It’s just right.

Finally, I’m working on creating an online course. Originally, I wanted the whole thing to be finished by October, but I’m realizing that date is unrealistic (I have a lot to learn about technology) and as I’ve been thinking about it and working on it, it’s been morphing into something even more fun than I had originally wanted. So, I'm giving myself until next spring, 2022. This course will be for a certain amount of people over a 3 or 4 month period so that we can all walk through the material together as a community of learners. As I’m envisioning it, I would love for us to do some deep-dives into the things I care most about: Place, being in Relationship, and Craft. We’re going to use our green woodworking as an analogy for those three things. It will probably involve some reading, assignments and watching videos that I create or think are relevant. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen available for those who are interested in craft, and I’m excited for what it’s becoming. I’ll have more information available as I work on it. So be sure to tell your friends, or anyone who you think might be interested, to sign up for my newsletter because you all will be notified first!

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