Becoming a Part of the Woodworking Community
Craft is a part of well-rounded college education.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I recently moved to Kentucky from Maine to head up the woodcraft program at Berea College. Most of the undergraduate students who join the woodcraft crew do so without having ever set foot in a woodshop. Our crew’s main focus is to create the wooden crafts and furniture pieces the college sells to generate revenue and help cover tuition costs.
Students come to Berea College knowing they will work – Berea is one of nine federally-recognized work colleges in the U.S. where students do not pay tuition and work at campus jobs to earn money for living expenses. The woodshop provides some of those work positions. But it’s clear that to the students in the woodshop, it’s much more than just a job.
Situated in an artistic community just west of the Appalachian Mountains, Berea College was founded in 1855 on Christian ideals with deep roots in both social justice and the crafts.