For the last two weeks I have been teaching at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. The class, titled Superficial Surfaces, explored a multitude of techniques for decorating and adorning the surfaces of furniture and other woodwork. The first week was a technical smorgasbord in which I served up demonstrations in marquetry, parquetry, string inlay, metal wire inlay, and texturing/painting. In the second week students were able to explore one or two of these techniques in depth. I encouraged students to work quickly and without preciousness towards their creations; this class was about learning new techniques, not making finished products.
With only 3 students, this was by far the smallest class I have ever taught. I was concerned that it would be difficult for us to fill the space, both physically and energetically. Not to worry, by the end of the first week we had projects piled on every workbench and table, good music on the stereo and a bottomless pot of coffee ready and waiting. Walking around the studios at the end of the session, I was proud to see that our class produced as much quality work as other classes that were 3-4 times our size. Marquetry and inlay are esoteric techniques that require an immense amount of care and precision to execute well. It was inspiring to watch my students take on these demanding processes with ambition and creativity. Here's a sampling of of their explorations: