Charlie Self/Update: Berea, Kentucky

So, Charlie... they've been running you ragged??? Thought I'd change the subject with an update about Berea, Kentucky. A subject brought up during a string in December of 2000, with regard to apprenticeship training. I spent three months in Kentucky, this last winter, trying to connect with the Appalachian craftsman myth...alas, it was just a myth. The state has taken possession of said myth, for the sake of big-monied enterprise. They built a huge, multi-million dollar center along the freeway, then imported some New York pot makers to make their myth come true. Berea hasn't changed all that much physically since the seventies, when I was there...the Inn is there, the campus is much the same, but it certainly is not an enclave of craftsmen. There were a few stores, trying to live up to the myth, but, you can find that kind of boutique in any strip mall in America. Point being, I didn't smell any sawdust. I went looking for a lutherer, a barrel maker, a chair maker...I tried talking to the local associations... but, paid administrators are in charge of everything, mostly women, and completely clueless. It was very disappointing. But, here is the big joke...the state took an old high school, spent five-million bucks to establish a school of craft, then folded before the doors opened for the first class. All to cash in on the myth. A sad set of affairs for the jolly old woodworker. Oh, they do have a technology program at Berea, pushing buttons. We have this same program in Iowa...to produce worker bees. Only, to be a drone is not working wood. So, I am still looking for an honest apprenticeship program...I guess it has been a myth for some time, otherwise, the historical society would not have come to San Francisco to hire us old hippy woodworkers, way back in the seventies. Guess I was too stoned to notice. Wish I was now... DAC
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D. A. Clark writes:

Well, the oldest kid is the one who did the Berea bit, along with a friend who actually graduated from their wood technology course back in the '70s. I think the '70s. Lisa did a dual major, Latin and, IIRC, music.
Anyway, a boyfriend she had at the time came from a woodworking family, a kid from CT, not Kaintuck.

Yeah, well...an even bigger joke on non-woodworking taxpayers.

I don't really know what the program entailed 30 years ago, never mind today, but I do know the friend who went through the course ended up selling computer stuff for many years...still is, in fact, even though he moans more about the lower income each year. Then some years ago, he wanted to do some woodworking, and has since invested a ton of bucks in tools and a shop in which to carry out his hobby. Some of his stuff is really good, but he's not yet confident enough to design and build something totally his own. He currently finds fairly complex projects and modifies them a bit.

Yes, well there are some gaps in the '70s. '60s, too, for me, though I was never really into drugs. A little grass, a bit more Wild Turkey and day's end was often better than its beginning.
Charlie Self "Don't let yesterday use up too much of today." Will Rogers
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DAC I was in Berea in January and indeed did find a hand made rocking chair shop. a custom furniture maker working mostly in maples, a luthier of mountain dulcimer's a basket weaver and a cloth spinner/weaver plus many other craft shops of different ilk. I did not see a barrel maker. So in a point I don't know if you just stayed by the college or what but you missed all the good stuff. It was a mile or so away from the college near the RXR tracks. Puff

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What about the studios of Kelly Mehler and Brian Boggs? Also the Log House Craft Gallery. We visited these while taking the Woodsmith Tour two years ago.
--
Ed. O.
Pictures from the Woodsmith Tour
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Woodworkers don't have studios.
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Scott Post snipped-for-privacy@insightbb.com http://home.insightbb.com/~sepost /

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If I am to judge from what's been printed in FWW, Brian Boggs is a woodworker/chairmaker of the highest order. It'd be nice if he'd publish a book detailing how to go about it.
On Sun, 09 May 2004 12:12:51 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@insightbb.com (Scott Post) wrote:

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Peters Valley http://www.pvcrafts.org /
Quality workshops and the store is barely 1,000 sq ft.
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Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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