According to one student of Selkirk College’s fine woodworking program, “we should call it fine, fine wood working.”
Sarah Dawson was among the crew of students frantically wrapping up their final projects at the Silver King campus last week. She says dealing in measurements of millimetres means the details matter.
“You have to train your eyes and other senses too. We’re always touching things,” she says as she runs her hand across the smooth surface of her kitchen island made as part of the nine-month program offered out of the Rosemont woodshop.
She feels a sense of accomplishment in skills learned since starting with a little kitchen cutting board last fall. Along the way there were struggles, but that’s all a part of learning.
“I’ve loved it and hated it at different times,” says Dawson of her project. She looks forward to being done and presenting it to the public. “Everything looks nice all polished up, lights shining on it and a little tag sitting in front.”
Fine wood working students will be showing the one-of-a-kind pieces at their annually held year-end show this weekend.
This year’s small class of 13 students has “learned a terrific amount in one year,” says instructor Randy Kerr.
Students start with basic projects like a lidded box or cutting board and progress to complex designs inspired by what they want to learn and what they want to create.
“As we go along, we look at design in an artistic way, a commercial way and we encourage students to come up with their own design,” he says. “There’s quite a bit of time involved in that — a lot of wheel spinning.”
From those initial ideas to last minute cramming, Kerr is all too familiar with the push to finish. Remembering his own days in school he says, “I’d be there at four in the morning sometimes and people would be walking around like it’s noon.”
Proud of completing their designs, displaying them for the community is part of the learning process as well.
“Works are presented in public galleries so this is practice for them,” says Kerr.
While some pieces will be for sale this weekend, Dawson made her kitchen island for herself. She’s used a computerized router to create a fluid inset in the wood that both looks beautiful and captures remnants from chopping swept aside.
“I just wanted to make something that I would use in my home,” she says. “I can’t wait to cut on it.”
Of course, offers are always considered.
The year-end show runs Friday to Sunday at the Nelson Trading Company building at 402 Baker Street.