Posted by: renaissancerebecca | September 3, 2011

Adventures in Woodturning

An emotional roller coaster.  That’s how you might describe a tough week of unexpected things.  Or, if you’re me, that’s how you describe your week in the woodturning studio.  By 3:30 on Thursday, I’d had enough.  I put a plastic bad over the piece I’d been working on (to keep it from drying out) and walked out the door.  I hid in a corner of the porch, shed a few tears, and then listened to my heart.  The conversation went something like this:

-What do you want to do Rebecca?

-Well, I sure don’t want to make another bowl.

-So don’t.

It was that simple.  But how to tell the instructor?  Ugh.  So instead of going back in, I wandered next door to the painting studio.  There was near silence as the students painted seascapes and gardens in acrylics.  I wandered from easel to easel admiring their work and clearing my head.  (Well, figuratively at least.  I found out on Monday I’m allergic to sawdust – so it wasn’t possible to literally clear my head.)

Having restored my sanity, I walked back into the woodturning studio.  “I’m done,” I told my instructor.  “I don’t want to make another bowl.”

“Do you want to make something else?” he asked.

“No.  I’m just not having fun anymore,” I said.  He had reminded us nearly every day that we were on vacation and we were there to have fun, so he understood my sentiments, but seemed a bit surprised – even a bit crestfallen.

I went over to my lathe and pulled off the hunk of wood that had defeated me.  I squirted compressed air over the beastly machine and swept up my plot of studio space as we did each night.  My teacher sat in the classroom area a few feet away.  It was the first time I’d seen him sit in the studio all week.  I couldn’t look him in the eye.

My workstation for the past week

I finished cleaning, walked out, and burst into tears once again.  There’s a fine line, I decided, between giving up and just not feeling it’s worth doing something anymore.

The next morning I headed back to the woodturning studio.  On this, our last day, all I wanted to do was finish the projects we’d started earlier in the week.  This was the first time in my life I’d been the last in the class, the slowest one.  While the other students plowed away at new projects, I spent hours finishing the first two we had worked on.

And as I was turning a stem onto my mini-goblet, I remembered how much I enjoyed doing this same technique the first day – experimenting with making beads and coves down a line of pine.

My finished mini-goblet

Experimenting with beads and coves on Monday night.

Bowls, on the other hand, were not something I enjoyed.  So though I had spent the Thursday night reworking my entire class schedule to avoid wood or traditional “manly” crafts for the next three months, I changed my mind (as I so often do).  I even told my instructor I might be interested in a class that focused on spindle work and not bowls.  He told me which teacher to avoid – because he’s mean to his female students.  Since I’d been near tears more than once in his class, I greatly appreciated his advice.

Next week, I’m taking a cooking class.  Unlike the woodturning studio, I have actually been in a kitchen before.  I know what a lot of the tools are, and the basics of how to use them.  I could even make something with them.  So I figure already I’m off to a much better start.  And now, I can appreciate every wooden piece I will touch in that kitchen:)

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Responses

  1. Good for you! I’m glad you went back on Friday and paused long enough to figure out the part you did like. I had a similar experience with clay – unlike most folks, I do not enjoy turning on a wheel – I’d rather shape, pinch, scratch and chisel on a piece of clay with my hands. Sounds like you are having a blast – I’m definitely coming up to check this out before you leave!

    • It’s good to know these things about ourselves:) And yes – please do visit! That would be fun.

  2. Rebecca,
    You had more guts than I would have had to tackle this class; now you know what you like (genealogy) and don’t like (woodturning) and it’s perfectly fine!
    Hugs…

  3. so glad you went back in to tie up loose ends… that’s so very brave/ gutsy/ adult of you. I’m going to text you a picture of a one of a pair of candlesticks my father in law has made. he’s amazing with a lathe and some wood and now i appreciate his skill even more, even if he doesn’t. love you and miss you!!

  4. [...] my first evening in the woodturning studio two weeks ago, I put on the safety glasses the Folk School had on hand.  I could feel the [...]

  5. [...] things for me.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had fun trying (and plenty of ups and downs) as these pictures show. My first time using a circular saw! (For those of you saying, [...]


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