The July sack back class is underway as I write. I just finished showing the class how to mount the arm rail. That leaves them the bow, and they will be finished. It looks like they will wrap up early on Friday.
I am very encouraged by the make up of this class. Twenty five percent of the students are 21 or under, and three of those four people are young women. A lot of ink and hot air has been expended in the woodworking world worrying about the lack of young people taking up the craft. Many high schools have dropped woodworking and other shop classes, and the impact is being felt. The Windsor Institute continues its good record of attracting young people into woodworking.
Kelly Rothermel is here with her father Sir Kurt Rothermel. Kurt has one class left before becoming an Earl of Windsor. He is using this class to introduce Kelly to chairmaking and do his teaching stint. That will allow him to be earled and duked at the same time.
Matt Barley was in college when he took sack back two years ago. He has since graduated and teaches high school technology education in Oregon. He returned to do sack back again, but this time with his younger sister Merideth. Natalie Hoffman is a high school junior taking the class with her father Chris. Patrick Elwood lives here in New Hampshire and is entering his junior year at Londonderry High School. He has made a Windsor stool with his teacher, Tom Ciccorello. Tom has taken several classes with us. Patrick is very talented and skilled, and Tom has reason to be proud of him.
Pasi Vorimo is here with his father Perrti. Pertti is from Finland, and so, we have added the Finnish flag to our classroom wall. We added the Norwegian flag in May when Stig Brandvik from Oslo took sack back with us. Our classroom is lined with the national flags of students who have come to The Institute from other countries. We can boast that we have established North American Windsor chairmaking on five of the six habitable continents. We are still waiting for a student from Africa, and no one living in Antarctica has come to study. However, Bill Zeigler, one of our students was assigned to Antarctica and took our banner to the south pole. He sent us a picture of him holding the banner at the very bottom of the earth. While we may never establish Windsor chairmaking there, we have made our presence felt at the pole.
I expect to soon report on a new member to the Chairmakers Hall of Fame. This will be the first inductee since 2004. The July 9 class wraps up the field trials required by the by-laws. Next week, the trustees meet and I will reporting favorably on this innovation. If a majority votes in the affirmative, I will be given approval to name the innovation and make it part of our teaching methods. Then, the new Immortal’s certificate will be hung in the Hall. Stay posted. This innovation is a good one and avoids a major problem with seats.