Back in grade school, I enjoyed when students would get up in front of the class and talk about what they did for their summer vacation. This summer rather than taking a rest from a very recent move to New Hampshire and new job earlier in the year I decided to spend it pursuing my passion for teaching traditional craft skills.
I’ve been teaching the ‘Traditional Building’ master’s class at the Boston Architectural College (BAC) in partnership with the North Bennet Street School (NBSS). It’s a low residency master’s program in Historic Preservation wherein students come in from around the country for a very intensive hands on week in Boston and spend the rest of the semester working online. For 8 straight days the students are with me from the early morning until dinner time, they grab a quick bite to eat and spend their evenings completing the intensive portion of their other class this semester ‘Preservation Philosophy and Practice’ with Virginia ‘Ginny’ Adams.
Some highlights of the week included:
- A walking tour of many historic homes and buildings in Boston including the Paul Revere House, Otis House, Gibson House and Trinity Church hosted by Steve O’Shaughnessy who is the Head of the NBSS Preservation Carpentry Department
- Learning about how to mix and analyze paint with historic paint expert Sara Chase who is a PC program adviser to NBSS
- Learning about historic hardware and fasteners with preservation expert Robert Adam (former head of PC program at NBSS) and touring the Saugus Ironworks NHP
- A private tour of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston
- Historic plaster work with master plasterer Andy Ladygo — another adviser to the NBSS PC Program
- Traditional woodworking (hand planes, moldings etc) and Historic Window Sash Restoration with Bill Rainford (NBSS PC Graduate and Workshop Instructor)
- Historic Timber Framing with Rich Friberg — NBSS Preservation Carpentry instructor and master wood turner
- To commemorate the experience Robert Ogle, MDS Director at the BAC had the shirts below made up for the class which will be a new tradition for this program. I’m happy to report that everyone survived the week.
Once the intensive was over, everyone took a quick breath, headed home and have been busy with their cameras and notebooks applying some of the skills they learned to their own work and later assignments in the class ever since.
All in all it was a great way to spend a summer vacation.