Berea College’s Woodworking School at Pine Croft will be buzzing with activity beginning in April with a new slate of classes that include guest instructors teaching their trade.
The first full session in October 2019 was attended by students from Kentucky as well as Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and Minnesota. Andy Glenn, head of the Woodworking School at Pine Croft, hopes to see an even greater interest this time around.
“We are just getting started with Pine Croft,” Glenn said. “2020 and 2021 proved challenging, but we’re excited for the future. We have a great slate of instructors scheduled for 2022 and a wide range of classes.”
Three guest instructors will be part of the Spring 2022 class schedule.
“My goal is for Pine Croft to offer a variety of class opportunities led by instructors who cover a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,” Glenn said. “We want to offer participants a collection of experienced and established makers to work with, along with a few offerings by younger makers doing great things. We truly want to appeal to everyone—the novice and the experienced alike.”
Studio furniture maker Michael Puryear from upstate New York will lead a spoon carving class. Puryear’s work can be found in the collections of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Rockefeller University and the Newark Museum as well as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“Michael is a renowned maker, and in offering a spoon-carving class, students will have an opportunity to learn from his technical expertise in a quieter setting,” Glenn said. “This class is centered around hand tools, allowing participants the time and atmosphere to focus their efforts on a skill that will be beneficial in future works.”
Michigan-based woodworker Dawson Moore will lead a modern ladder-back chair class. Dawson uses traditional, sloyd-based hand skills with designs that blend both contemporary lines and traditional approaches.
“Dawson is a younger maker doing wonderful things in the craft,” Glenn said. “I became enamored with his spoon carving works a few years ago. He recently turned his efforts towards chairmaking, crafting Windsor and a modern ladder-back chair. He’ll join us to teach his ladder-back—a gorgeous combination of modern design and traditional chairmaking techniques. I’m thrilled he’s joining us in Berea.”
Megan Fitzpatrick of Cincinnati will lead an Anarchist’s Tool Chest class. She has carved a reputation within the woodworking world around her strong work and engaging writing. She was the managing editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and is now a freelance woodworker, editor and instructor.
“Megan’s class will create a traditional English Tool Chest,” Glenn said. “Megan has taught this class all over the country, and I’m excited that she’ll bring it to Berea. With a deep knowledge of hand tools and their application, Megan’s classes are nonstop action. Fun and informative, Megan is a wonderful instructor. I’m thankful she’s coming back to teach at the school again.”
Glenn will also teach classes this spring, including a one-day sharpening class and weeklong classes around chairmaking, beginner woodworking and table making.
“I’m thankful to be part of Pine Croft’s beginning,” Glenn said. “I was trained in Boston, through the cabinet and furniture making program at the North Bennet Street School. I’ve been making and instructing, in one way or another, for the past 15 years. The past four years were with Berea College, heading the Woodcraft Program, but now I am back to my personal shop again, making furniture and craft, while still leading the efforts at Pine Croft.
“I offer a range of classes for the woodworking community, from single-day classes to weeklong courses,” Glenn added. “I love woodworking—it all excites me. So, I offer skill-based classes like sharpening and turning, as well as project courses like table making, and green wood chairmaking. Every day in the shop is a great day.”
This year, Pine Croft will also work with the Forestry Department to highlight the Berea College Forest. A hickory bark harvesting class will be offered, and students can follow that class with a chairmaking class using all materials collected from the forest.
“It only makes sense that we work tightly with the College Forestry Department—after all, Pine Croft is tucked back in the forest,” Glenn said. “We have a day of hickory bark harvesting in June where we’ll go into the woods to gather the bark and hear from Clint Patterson, the College’s lead forester. We’ll follow that with a weeklong chair making class, splitting out all the wood for the chair directly from a red oak log from the Berea College forest.
Pine Croft launched as part of Berea College’s Student Craft Program in 2019, extending Berea’s support of craft to local, regional and national communities. Located adjacent to the Berea College forest at 1865 Big Hill Road in Berea, the woodworking school is on the site of the former Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking. The Woodworking School at Pine Croft supports Berea College’s 128-year commitment to the preservation and promotion of craft.
The school was named “Pine Croft” after the title originally given to the property by Mrs. Anna Ernberg, the weaving director of Berea College’s Fireside Industries. She made her home on the site in the early 1900s. The woodworking school continues the tradition of fine woodworking for which both Berea College and Kelly Mehler are well known.
“Kelly created a beautiful school that combined world-class instruction and a personal touch, and we plan to continue with that approach,” Glenn said. “Kelly continues to share his time with the school. While he’s not on the schedule as an instructor, he is consistently around, helping with the classes and as a sounding board. As anyone who knows him can attest, his generosity knows no bounds.”
Registration is now open for this year’s classes at the Woodworking School at Pine Croft. For more information, visit https://pinecroftwoodschool.com. For more information, call (859) 985-3224.