Turning Archive 2005

Reflections on working with Beth Ireland

Bob Hackett
>I just finished up 2 one week intro courses as co-instructor with Beth Ireland at Center For Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport ME.
First let me say that I was VERY impressed by all the student`s ability to grasp and apply all the various techniques delivered at a rapid fire pace.In 4 days we covered spindle turning,precision fitting of turned parts,tool making,lidded boxes,hollow forms and finally bowls.The 5th day was reserved for whatever the students wanted to work on with our assistance.
Beth designed the course to provide the students with a useable,complete piece at each step of the way and each project built on the skills learned during the previous demo/project.I found the students far more receptive to this approach as opposed to having them make fancy firewood till they mastered a cut.
Beth made me feel as if I had been working with her forever and the students had no idea this was the first time we had met.She kept the students smiling,even when they were tired or frustrated at the end of a long day.I can`t say enough about her ability to connect with the folks who came thru the door.Needless to say,I learned alot and I`ll be modifying my teaching approach to reflect those lessons learned.
The bottom line is,if you have a chance to take a class with Beth I `d jump on the opportunity.She`s a wonderful person,turner,and communicator.If you`re thinking about making the leap to instructing then you`d be hard pressed to find a better role model.
On the last day one of the students said"I feel like the circus is leaving town".I know exactly what he meant,I woke up Monday wishing there was a 3rd week.
Peter Korn and the folks at CFC are all great folks too.Everyone I met there was very friendly and helpful.Thier motto seems to be"How can I help".They made our job so much easier and more enjoyable.
One word of caution,if you plan to take a course at the Center practice your croquet skills.You`ll need them after the Thursday nite pot-luck dinner.There`s afew ringers in the crowd.


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Reflections on working with Beth Ireland
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