I didn’t expect to get an upper body workout when I signed up for this class in making a stave vessel. Turns out planing wood for several hours takes a lot out of you.
This morning went pretty well. I moved on to the part of the process I’d dreaded most – pegging the individual staves to one another. Turned out it was easier than I thought, and I kind of got into it. Even had moments of a heady sense of accomplishment. But once that was done, the next step was taking the vessel (think of a small wooden tub) apart and planing down the outsides of the staves, which we’d previously shaped on the inside. I was still working on that when the class day ended.
Tomorrow is the final day, and I’m about three steps behind all the others. The last step is decorating the completed vessel, which is not mandatory. I have a suspicion I won’t get to that one. I have a further suspicion the instructor will have to help me finish the thing.
Maybe I’ll get a participation trophy – senior division.
Reporting from Decorah, Iowa, where I’m taking a class in stave vessel making at the Vesterheim (Museum) Folk School. My instructor is a gentleman I already knew slightly, having run into him at Høstfest in Minot a few years back.
It’s a disorienting experience, taking a craft class. I’m accustomed to working with my brain, for many reasons. I’m not comfortable making things. I don’t feel like what John Bunyan called “a man of his hands.” So I’m out of my element, which is probably good for me. I’m the most inexperienced of all the students (there are 6 of us), so I’m 2 or 3 steps behind the others. But the instructor says I’m actually on schedule — the others are just running ahead. Nonetheless, I’m gradually improving as I repeat various tasks. I’m reluctant to say that though, because I firmly believe that if I allow myself to think I’m getting better at something, the universe will punish my hubris.
Our teacher is a low-key, patient fellow, which is good. I’ve only cut myself twice, and only one of those required a bandage (not a big one). Manual work and standing most of the day are novelties in my life, and I’m pretty beat by the time I get home.
But I did work up the nerve to approach the museum bookstore people about selling Viking Legacy.
I’ll share pictures after I get home, when I can get my hands on my Photobucket password.