I’m at Woodenboat this week, learning about Canvaswork. I hope these musings about taking classes to learn skills so I can do DIY projects around the boat are helpful, or at least fun.
These beautiful machines are a means to an end, but are beautiful in and of themselves. The heavy industrial sewing machines at Center Harbor Sails are imposing, heavy things that at first pulled the sunbrella material from my hands with such force and speed that it was as though it knew better than I did what to do with the stuff and that it was yanking it from my control.
The attitude was from my imagination, but the force and speed is no joke. As I was working with some scrap pieces of fabric, I was mostly concentrating on very basic things like finding a good way of holding my hands or where the pressure of my foot on the pedal was just the right amount of speed for me to keep control. Meanwhile, I really feel like pretty much all of my classmates already have a grasp on all this jive turkey. For the first time in any classroom experience I’ve ever had, I’m feeling a little behind. Sweet. I suppose that makes the tuition feel well-spent.
It’s the access to both my instructor and to the entirety of the sail loft that makes taking this class special for me, but also, any week-long intensive class is an opportunity to focus on something as though it were your job. Focus is the operative word there, because otherwise, I’d be dabbling around, screwing up my sewing machine trying to figure a lot of this stuff out were I left to my own devices.
As a local, I’m lucky. I can only imagine what these classes mean to people who are from away- the jaw-dropping beauty of the place, the amazing hospitality and food of the school, and the access to tools and people like I mentioned above are the trifecta that draws people back multiple times to take more classes.