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Woodworking and Fabrication Elective Challenges Students to Make Wooden Spoons

The first project of the second semester woodworking and fabrication elective tasks middle schoolers with creating their own usable wooden spoons, modeled after the sjöld tradition in Sweden and the work of British woodworker EJ Osborne. “The goal of this project is two-fold,” says Director of Technology and elective teacher Nicholas Cole-Farrell. “In addition to learning technique and familiarizing themselves with our tools, students are completing the circle of being both producers and consumers of a functional item crafted with their own hands.” The sjöld tradition values the choice of materials and work methods, and believes that those decisions are inextricably linked to the quality and expression of handiwork. Students are taking a hybrid approach to woodworking by employing age-old hand tools—such as saws, chisels, and carving knives—as well as contemporary machines—such as band saws, scroll saws, and the power sander.
“This project represents the type of innovation and expression that is key to our work in the creative arts here at Brandeis,” explains Mr. Cole-Farrell. “By encouraging our students to learn new means of self-expression, we unlock a type of creative spirit that exists in all of us: the desire to share who we are with the greater world. There is something truly magical about seeing students use simple tools to transform a block of wood into something that is meaningful to them.”