Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I suppose that in the long run, we create our own luck through learning, planning, making contacts with people and just keeping an eye out for opportunity. Teaching up at the WoodenBoat School over the past two weeks, people have asked me how I got there.
My father and I have been into canoes in one way or another pretty much since I can remember. We're also both woodworkers. Wooden canoe building and repair just came naturally.
I was approached about 4 years ago by the administrator of a private school where I take furniture-making classes during the week. I had run out of project at the end of the class and was looking for a filler. I decided to make a double-bladed paddle for the Wee Lassie I had built as the fill-in and had it on display at the end of year open-house that the school puts on for the public. It drew so much attention that she asked me to write a proposal to teach cedar-strip canoe building at the school. The proposal was accepted and I've taught 5-6 students to build Wee Lassie or Wee Lassie II canoes every year for the past three years.
A little over a year ago, a man by the name of Jonathan Klopman came into my workplace looking to buy some of the product that we make. Jonathan is a marine surveyor and had taught a class on the subject up at the WoodenBoat School. One of the sales people I was with let slip that I taught people how to build canoes. Jonathan suggested that I should either go take some classes or talk to the school's director, Rich Hilsinger about helping with a class. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I ran into Rich at the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic last year and spoke very briefly with him at the time. He handed me his business card and told me to send him an email. Not much went on for several months. We finally started discussion about a class in September when the new course catalog was being prepared.
At any rate, this year I taught up at the school for the first time. Suffice it to say, it was a great deal of fun and an experience I hope that I get the opportunity to repeat next year as I have improvements that I'd like to make.
All of this has put one thing into perspective : I am a firm believer that there are times in your life when everything comes together. This was one of those times when a chance meeting made the preparation, learning and experience all come together.