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Hi friends!  It’s been exactly two weeks since I arrived in Philadelphia, and after a bit of travel in the first week, we are all settling in and figuring out how and what to make.  I thought I would share some of the images from our first week, which included orientation on Monday, shop safety tour on Tuesday, and setting up our spaces to make work throughout.  We’re in a new location at NextFab, so we’re getting to make it up as we go along!

Here is Kelly McGovern of NextFab North showing us the space they set aside for us as resident artists.  This is home base, and will serve as both a storage space and a place to work, though NextFab also has a bench room for members, so we’ll be able to spread out if need be.  There’s a wood shop, metal shop, textiles area, laser area, spray booth and lots more all housed within the space, and as residents we’ll be able to take classes in any area if we want to! 

Kelly talking to Navva, Chris, James and Janice – the space is huge and goes on forever!

Did I mention there’s a bike shop, restaurant, and several other businesses all housed in the building?  Pretty wild!

Janice and Chris start figuring out what we’ve got to work with and how to lay it out

Here’s our space – this was day one, all the Center for Art in Wood tools are there, but we need to figure out a bench space, unpack the tools, and figure out where each of us will stage our stuff.  Chris is working within the space because he works almost exclusively with hand tools.  Janice is exploring work on the CNC router, and James is moving back and forth between larger and smaller carved sculptures.  I’m carving little things, introducing myself to the shop and the tools, and trying to take as many pictures as possible!

Tim showing us around the wood shop at NextFab

Day 2!  Tim from NextFab gives us the rundown on tool safety in the shop.  All of us are educators and are pretty comfortable in a wood shop, so this didn’t take too long, but Janice was able to set up a time for a demo on their Shopbot, and it was good to figure out where all the first aid kits and brooms were and to find out how these folks like to run the shop.

After the safety tour, we finished settling into our space and everyone started trying to figure out what they’re going to do.  Chris came with some ideas in mind, and started with a by making a beautiful wooden fore plane. We found a bench to pull into the space, and he’s been working mostly on that.  If you want to see more of what he’s done on this thing, check out his instagram account here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CfEK-LOuBvi/?hl=en

Chris drawing his fore plane plans

Janice and Chris checking out the new bench in the space

Chris working on the plane body!

Janice showing me her patterning notes and some samples she’s made in the past

Janice has beautiful notes on different processes that she’s interested in – here are a few sitting on top of a milk painted sample carving

Meanwhile, Janice brought in a couple of things she’s been thinking about experimenting with for a while – a coopered fan form and some lovely carved patterning using the CNC.  She’s working back and forth between the projects depending on which tools are open and available.

Janice testing out some ideas for tapered coopered forms.

James figures out his own work space for some of the smaller works!

James starting to carve a big chunk of wood from the side of the road!

Home Sweet Home for James

Katie starting to figure out what she wants to do in the shop by carving a little thing.  Still actually figuring out what my “visual documentation” will look like outside of this blog, but in the meantime I have shook hands with the shop by digging through the trash, finding a little block of wood, cutting it out rough on the bandsaw and figuring out what sort of creature it wants to be.  

I also took the Center up on one of the lovely blanks from Phil Brown that the Center has asked artists to interpret into new pieces, and this is where I started.  

It was a busy first few days!!!  In the next post I will talk about our trip down to Washington DC and Maryland to visit collectors, A Workshop of Our Own, and the Renwick Gallery, but for now, that takes us all the way to Thursday, June 16!  Phew!