WIA Day 1 – Anonymously Civilian

The first day of WIA on Friday was somewhat unusual for me as I was able to swim anonymously in the sea of woodworking as just another fish in the school.


Given my decades-long interest in and practice of marquetry it is surprising that I had never met marquetry maestro Silas Kopf before, but I rectified that shortcoming at the conclusion of his first session that day.  Silas is a true artist with veneers, and it was fascinating to see and listen as he composed and constructed a floral marquetry pattern.  His approach is nearly opposite of my own so it was a fertile learning experience for me.


I next attended Peter Follansbee’s “Spoon Carving” session, enjoying immensely his folksy, occasionally caustic, sense of humor interspersed with demonstrating a well-tuned skill set.  His workmanship and creativity are inspiring, and I will surely try to emulate him on some long winter nights in the holler back in the mountains.  As he pointed out, spoon carving has a near-zero raw materials cost, making many of his spoons from shrub branches and discarded wood.

I completed my day of classes with Peter Ross’ truly engaging exposition on historic woodworking tools, particularly the Benjamin Seaton tool chest and its contents, often comparing historical attitudes of excellent to our modern “Obsessive Precision Disorder.”  It was enlightening to say the least and the attendees provided an active period of questioning and discussion afterwards.

I spent quite a while wandering through The Marketplace, visiting with attendees and exhibitors, gawking at tools and giving a number of them a test drive.

The day concluded with the conference banquet, dining with friends old and new followed by a quick trip to the airport to pick up Philippe Lafargue for our big book-signing-day on Saturday.  Despite being friends for twenty-five years and collaborating on To Make As Perfectly As Possible for the past several, we had not actually seen each other in person for over a decade.

A few tweaks to my Saturday morning talk and it was off to sleep.