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Sunday 11 October 2015

Working with LinkAge to teach younger and older people woodcarving in Shirehampton's Tithe Barn, in Bristol

LinkAge work to bring younger and older people together on projects, to promote communication between two groups that don't always get the chance to meet in such positive environments.

LinkAge shirehampton project

I've worked with LinkAge before, on a project to make a bench for Shirehampton in Bristol. It was a  pleasure to be invited back to work with them again for two days at Shirehampton's Tithe Barn. 
The young people who came all attend 'The Orb', which is associated with the local Oasis Academy Brightstowe school. 

The Orb particularly caters for students who aren't getting on well with conventional education. Chatting to some of them, it was very interesting to hear their thoughts on the normal classroom environment. They all enjoyed the opportunity that The Orb gave to be able to have a say in organising their studies to fit the way that they learn, rather than being forced into the normal routines of the classroom.

Eileen was also hard at work over the two days, creating a carved oak plaque for her garden.

I think that everyone attending learned quite a bit about woodworking. There was a choice: either making plaques from cedar or oak wood to take home or working on a bench for the garden at the barn.

Making the bench first involved cutting the oak legs to length using a bow saw - no mean feat!

using a bow saw

 The seat was then shaped, using a drawknife to round the edges.

It then needed to have holes drilled into it and to be carved with designs that had been drawn on, showing the barn and a design of cart special to the area.

Two of the young people also carved and assembled a plaque for The Orb using a bow saw off cut, as a nice surprise for the staff there.

the orb bristol

The bench came out really well and will last a long time, as it is made from durable oak and sweet chestnut timbers.

Thanks to Ricky, Susan and Laura at LinkAge and to everyone who came along for their hard work on the two sessions. I also had some very happy news on this project.

Ricky, who is one of the senior workers at LinkAge, told me that they felt that the previous benchmaking project that I'd led for them had gone so well that they were now using it as an example in funding applications and other important publicity work.

They had asked me to run some of these new sessions for them because it was particularly important that, as part of a major new project, they went well. They felt that I'd be able to help ensure that the new sessions were a success. I've got to say that it was very satisfying to hear how pleased they were with my work.

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