Meet Kelsey: The making of a woodworker apprentice
Was it nature or nurture that inspired Kelsey, our first recruit this spring to The Joinery’s Woodworker Apprentice Program, to follow her passion for creating beautiful wood furniture?
Well, when your father has you out in the garage helping build furniture from the time you’re knee-high, you can figure it was a bit of both. “I remember the first piece I had an integral part in building was an entertainment center,” Kelsey says. “With TV. Speaker components. Drawers. It wasn’t as sophisticated as what The Joinery builds. But it was a great start to understanding the detail that goes into any piece of wood furniture.”
For the last few months she’s been getting her hands, eyes and ears full of those infinite details that distinguish our furniture construction. She’s had the opportunity to work with multiple teams and trainers, augmenting her skill set from each of them, and even taking ownership of a project or two.
“In college I was focused on ceramics,” she says. “But even then I remained obsessed with wood.” She got involved with the Guild of Woodworkers, through which she still takes classes.
“I love learning about drawers and multiple joint techniques,” she says. “I love dovetails — so functional and beautiful. If you build them perfectly they don’t even need glue.”
If there’s a favorite wood on the workbench it’s got to be Western Walnut: “Such diversity of pattern and color it looks like galaxies in space. And it’s a species we can source locally.”
Few wood shops can afford to take on apprentices or anyone less than an experienced woodworker, and Kelsey feels fortunate not only to have found this training opportunity, but to have found one that aligns so well with her values around quality craftsmanship and environmental responsibility. And with tremendous contributions in just a few short months with us, we are lucky to have her as well.