NBSS Paper Decorations

NBSS Holiday Party 2012 + BAC Building Opening

During the holidays there is always so much to do, so many errands to run, so many people to try and catch up with, and all of the other usual holidays stresses. Even with all the running around, one of my favorite events of the season is the North Bennet Street School Holiday party. For me it always evokes images of what I imagine a party at Old Fezziwig’s warehouse would be like.

Band Playing at the NBSS Holiday Party
Band Playing at the NBSS Holiday Party

There is always lively holiday music being played on a fiddle recently made by its owner.  Lance plays a tune on his saw. Everyone brings homemade dishes. Many of us are covered in saw dust or smudges from the shop and there is a energy in the room. The annual table hockey tournament is being played to a cheering crowd.

A view of the NBSS Holiday Party
A view of the NBSS Holiday Party

The room is alive with students, faculty and alumni talking about their work, their passions and the year ahead.

Front of the new home to NBSS after 125+ years on North Bennet Street they are moving to a larger facility that will put the entire school back under one roof.
Front of the new home to NBSS after 125+ years on North Bennet Street they are moving to a larger facility that will put the entire school back under one roof. Located right off the greenway the new building has a nice street presence.

This year (Thursday 12/13/12) was the first North Bennet Street School Holiday Party at the new building which is located at 150 North Street in Boston which is now partially occupied by the school (the rest of the departments to move in this coming year).

Side view of North Street Building. This rear corner is where Preservation Carpentry will reside.
Side view of North Street Building. This rear corner is where Preservation Carpentry will reside.

The new building will start an exciting new chapter in the school’s history. While I am nostalgic for the original NBSS building which had a lot of unusual quirks and a TON of history in the walls, the new space is starting to take on a life of its own and as more tools make it up onto the walls and the old benches find their way to their new homes you can see a distinctly NBSS feel develop.

New workspace for the Bookbinding program
New workspace for the Bookbinding program

The Bookbinding program was one of the first to move into the new space. And even during the party a few dedicated folks are still toiling away at their benches as party-goers make the rounds to see what students have been up to.

DSCN7022
Massive wooden bookbinding presses waiting to be set up

Walking the halls you can see all the tools and equipment that have seen many years of use.

Violin making department -- even during the party a few students were still working at their benches
Violin making department — even during the party a few students were still working at their benches

In the violin making department there are a few more folks finishing up their bench work. The new space is larger and more spread out.

A Violin being constructed
A Violin being constructed

The school also has many of the posters from the new ‘Do What You Love Every Day’ marketing campaign you can see around the city and in related trade magazines. It really captures a core tenet of the NBSS Philosophy and how skilled hand work is a very fulfilling vocation.

'Do What You Love Every Day' NBSS Ad campaign (In this poster is a friend named Nikki from Bookbinding)
‘Do What You Love Every Day’ NBSS Ad campaign (In this poster is a friend named Nikki from Bookbinding)

You can learn more about NBSS and their efforts to bring the school ‘Under One Roof’ here on the website. There is also a powerful video clip about why this move means so much to the NBSS community and the surrounding neighborhood.

'Do What You Love Every Day'
‘Do What You Love Every Day’

Thursday was a busy night for me in the city. After the NBSS Holiday Party I had to head over to the BAC to see the public opening of the new building they’ve renovated/re-purposed at 951 Boylston Street in Boston.

Entrance to 951 Boylston Street Boston, a new building for the BAC. The desk shown here was fabricated by NBSS students
Entrance to 951 Boylston Street Boston, a new building for the BAC. The desk shown here was fabricated by NBSS students

On display in the entry way is a beautiful desk and shelving system which was fabricated by NBSS students.

Interior of 951
Interior of 951

The interior of this building is now a bright and modern space designed to celebrate student work, host school and community events, and provide more studio space for students.

Me, in front of an example of what will be preserved in the old building
Me, in front of an example of what will be preserved in the old building

Above I am standing in front of a section of this building which was a hot topic of discussion during the summer Historic Preservation (HP) classes at the BAC. Originally this historic masonry work was going to be concealed in the wall, but with some pushing from the HP students and faculty this architectural detail will be the subject of upcoming materials conservation work and will be incorporated into the design of the space and a creative example of work on display.

BAC Student work on display
BAC Student work on display

You can learn more about this new space at the BAC here.

It was a great night to be in downtown Boston and helped get me into the spirit of the holidays.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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