My Role and Soul:
An offering of a teacher/woodworker
I have been a teacher, coach, counselor, and woodworker my entire adult life. Whether my mentoring has happened in a traditional classroom, a workshop, or out in the field, my “eldering” of children has been all about connecting and creating. My work with children of all ages has focused on nurturing in them life skills such as critical thinking, self-awareness, resilience, and compassion for self and others. My students have also been my teachers, and from them, I’ve learned that all young people respond to compassionate, consistent encouragement. Rich and challenging experiences, when offered in a safe and joyful learning environment, help young people feel a sense of purpose and develop skills of self efficacy that prepare them to live rich, meaningful lives.
While I have witnessed the excitement and growth that the academic classroom can bring to children, I have also observed how “doing, creating, and building” resonate with virtually all children. I am forever in awe of my students who struggle in traditional classrooms but come alive when given a hammer and saw and an opportunity to build something they can call their own. I have found great satisfaction and joy in blending my own creativity and passion for woodworking with my love and passion for nurturing in kids a deeper sense of self-worth. When I counsel, teach, and encourage children in the context of “hands on experiences ,” a mutual engagement occurs where I, as the teacher, gain as much joy and purpose from building together as my students. And this mutual, energetic space creates a trust that allows both teacher and student to get curious, together overcome their fear of making mistakes and, tool in hand, begin the courageous journey of unveiling their inherent capacity to create and to feel pride in a product they have created by their own hands. There is no greater joy than to watch my students’ journey unfold as they get curious, lean into the unknown, be vulnerable and courageous and begin to see themselves as capable beings.
My goal in creating Woodworker on Wheels is to provide the extraordinary learning and life affirming experience to all children in our greater Baltimore community through the wise and ancient craft of woodworking.
My journey as a teacher and woodworker
I am a “wood lover” as well as a woodworker. Wood is extraordinary all by itself, so my goal is to work it in a way that releases its natural beauty. During the extraordinary life of a tree, the wood develops its character, showing both its productive years and its challenging ones. As with people, the tree’s healthy as well as stressful growth periods are all revealed in its core. Ironically, the most beautiful and striking bowls emerge from some of the most stressed parts of a tree. The beauty in these bowls, like the maple bowl above, show how wood deals with stress and life challenges often with more grace than we human beings, and the imperfections in a piece of wood will give it unique character and stunning beauty.
My bowl and board designs are simple and my end products functional; this simplicity helps to accent the wood's own beautiful lines and figures. The wood I use for my bowls and boards is from local fallen trees that I have rescued from the fate of the wood chipper and the fireplace. With my chainsaw always in the back of my car, I travel around town ready to snatch up parts of a fallen tree before the tree guys get at it and haul it off.
I love what I do, and I take great joy in using my skill to transform a fallen tree into something beautiful and useful. I hope you will appreciate the beauty of my bowls and boards and honor the tree (and the woodworker) by using my products.