Author Topic: posting your skills and qualifications for all to see  (Read 14741 times)

rococojo

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posting your skills and qualifications for all to see
« on: December 24, 2007, 07:20:24 PM »
I endorse this, If you’re skilled, then show it, only the unskilled would object.
My credential's are?   Dr Joseph Hemingway.
 I was apprenticed to: Taylor & Hobson Ltd, Mechanics in Wood, Huddersfield, England. Starting In 1957.
 I gained a first class “City & Guilds Certificate” in cabinetmaking, at “The Huddersfield Polytechnic” in 1960,.(the first ever recorded apprentice to do so at (T & H Ltd
 I trained there under “Norman Holroyd”, who had worked all his life for this firm, ending as there Foreman Master Carver.
My PhD was gained in 2003, for Carving, Cabinetmaking Rococo theory, and Design.
 Being the first ever carver to solve Chippendale’s 23R Design, (1762 director),.
 Known as "The Impossible Chair”.
 this can be viewed at: http://www.thomaschippendalefurniture.com
 And my "Chippendale Ribbon-Back Chair" is now showing in the Sapfm gallery.
Background Information for:Taylor & Hobson Ltd, there History.
 “Isaac Taylor,” of Huddersfield, worked between, 1757 & 1762, with Thomas Chippendale, as an engraver on his 3rd volume of:" The Gentleman & cabinetmakers Director, 1762.
“Nathaniel Hobson,” from London, was apprentice to Thomas Chippendale, in 1754.
There two off springs made up Taylor & Hobson, first trading in London,then moving back to Huddersfield, Hobson trading from 1865. Taylor from 1851, both trading separately before joining as Taylor & Hobson Ltd in 1899.
 
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 07:00:26 PM by rococojo »

John McAlister

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2007, 07:45:07 PM »
Dr. Hemingway, if I had credentials and skills like you I would also post mine; in capital letters. Thanks for the look at your Chippendale chair on your web site, and the ribbon back chair in the members gallery. Incredibly beautiful carving.  I believe you are a member of SAPFM and I suspect you could contribute a lot of help, suggestions and advice to many of us; which is one of the purposes of being a member of the society.  Will you likely do any teaching in this country?  Are you familiar with Ian Agrell; British Master Carver now teaching in this country. I worked some with him several years ago; hoping that some of his magic would rub off on me. It didn't.
John McAlister
Textile mfg, 30 yrs. Owner travel agency 10 yrs.
Hobbies other than furniture making include fishing, hunting and tennis. Flew P 51's WWII, 8th Air Force, Europe.

rococojo

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2007, 11:04:33 AM »
Dr. Hemingway, if I had credentials and skills like you I would also post mine; in capital letters. Thanks for the look at your Chippendale chair on your web site, and the ribbon back chair in the members gallery. Incredibly beautiful carving.  I believe you are a member of SAPFM and I suspect you could contribute a lot of help, suggestions and advice to many of us; which is one of the purposes of being a member of the society.  Will you likely do any teaching in this country?  Are you familiar with Ian Agrell; British Master Carver now teaching in this country. I worked some with him several years ago; hoping that some of his magic would rub off on me. It didn't.
John McAlister
Thanks for that john, you are not aware of my moves being across the pond?but Taylor and Hobson is reborn again  today, for on 25th May 2007, I was successful  in registering it as a CIC company, No 6259522. Its registered today as a "Rococo Training School", a "Company within the Community", now its reconised as a good cause,and can get lottery funding. thanks again.

MikeWenzloff

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2007, 10:01:34 AM »
Ok, if not s*xist, certainly elitist and arrogant fits the tone of how this subject was introduced (misspellings, grammar mistakes and all).

Being an American, unless I travelled and lived abroad, obtaining "credentials" such as those listed wouldn't even be possible. Guild system? Nah, not here (whether it should be, have been or could be is a different issue).

And while I am a hack with wood and the implements brought to bear against it, the tone of the message (intended or not) is offensive, should be offensive, to civilised beings.

Of course, I am but an unskilled objector.

Mike

btw, MikeS. Suggesting one needs/ought/should consider changing their username to something less gender-suggestive is s*xist, no matter how benign or well intended.

MikeWenzloff

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2007, 10:10:18 AM »
Joseph,

Your work is certainly impressive. Incredibly delicate pierced carving. I wish other aspects of your post were as well executed as the chair.

I do have a question for you. How would you suggest someone new to the craft obtain such education in woodwork or follow it with the kind of formal apprentiship in this day and age?

Mike

rococojo

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2007, 10:55:09 AM »
I endorse this, If you’re skilled, then show it, only the unskilled would object.

How Republican a statement. Many of us don't much care for tooting our own horns. We prefer for others to discern our skills and/or intelligence from our actions. If the others are too ignorant and/or unthinking to so discern, well that's their tough luck.

And I for one am real tired of getting bullied about by men. I'm way too old for this, way too experienced with that glass ceiling, my head hurts.

Pam
Hello Pam, Im real sorry if I give you a headache, being new to this sapfm forum, Im just taking thing slowly, (But offending, Sorry) Im not trying to be anything other than myself, Politicle Im not, Please believe this. Just a British maker of furniture, with modern  views and hopefully guide lines on making thing’s correctly, my use of “only the unskilled would object” was not meant to put pressure or insult anyone,  just away of saying why cannot we post our past and present skills for all to see? That’s all.

dkeller_nc

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2007, 01:26:44 PM »
One aspect of this topic might be worth noting - the cultural inlfuence on whether credentials carry any weight or not. 

American views on this sort of thing tend to be quite a bit on the side of "don't care where the work originated or by whom, judge it on its own merits", while European views tend to elevate achievments if the creator has achieved certification.

That's a big generalization, and there are lots and lots of exceptions that could be pointed out, but the opposing biases are nevertheless detectable.

The point I'm trying to make is that the statement of "only the unskilled would object" may not have been intended to have an offensive overtone in the slightest but may simply reflect the importance of certification in European culture.
Period Furniture & Carving as a hobby - about 20 years woodworking

rococojo

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2007, 04:40:20 PM »
hello Mike, Ive been trading since 1968,from my studio at the side of my house,in west Yorkshire, I had a major fire at the beginning of this year,23rd jan,2007.when my studio was gutted totally, everything within the building was lost.exept one ribbon-backed chair, so a week later,after clearing up for the local council, I had to decide which way to go,give up start a again? then a faithful customer, turned up with a box of new tools,she and her husband had just purchased, they were very put-out by what had happened. this helped me, and I decided to continue. Id been extending the studio to accommodate for training, but this had all gone. so moving forward I enquired about a charity to run this new venture under, and was told a new CIC would be best,so I decided to apply for Taylor and Hobson, this was awarded as a Community Interest Company on 25th may 2007, so TAYLOR AND HOBSON CIC is up and running again. at the same time, I was making a fire claim with my insurance,about this fire claim, it has been difficult, but in November 2007 they admitted liability, and its about to make an offer, so I'm informed?. its taken 11 months and its winter. but when Ive got my place back,and fully running, I can take on apprentice's or a mixture of trades,which would be over seen by, north lancs training group, some way of that date yet. but im not downhearted. hope this answers you question mike.

chamfer

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2007, 01:17:56 AM »
Joseph,

Since you've presented your work in such a way as to invite scrutiny, I thought I'd attempt to take this thread in a slightly different direction. A direction which, I hope, is in keeping with the broader purposes of SAPFM.

In your original message, you indicate that the rococo chair (Chippendale, Plate XXIII, right illustration) has been deemed to be the "impossible" chair. I'm not sure who made that pronouncement, but think the concept worth exploring.

One possibility, of course, would be the notion that it would simply be impossible for the design to be executed. While the accomplishments of Grinling Gibbons may have been somewhat singular, one only has to think of him as part of an ongoing tradition of trade carvers to realize that, surely, someone in the latter part of the eighteenth century possessed the skill to execute this design. So I don't think it sensible that it would be declared impossible in this sense.

Another possibility is that this chair, as drawn, simply would not hold up as a functional piece of seating furniture. Especially, in looking at the undercutting at the foot, it would appear that a chair based on this design would likely be subject to structural failure. And, looking at the photos on your website doesn't do anything to allay those concerns in my mind. In fact, in comparing your chair with Chippendale, it appears you've introduced pierced carving in areas not indicated in the engraving, rendering those areas even more fragile than necessary.

Needless to say, I can only go by the engraving and your photos, but it does appear to me that this is an "impossible" design in the sense that the result is not a functional piece of furniture. If that is the case, it should be no surprise that it has never been executed before. It would seem something of an academic exercise to invest so much time and effort in a furniture project which is structurally questionable.

So, if it doesn't work as furniture, I guess it would be legitimate to consider it as sculpture. While the chair in the Chippendale engraving isn't particularly to my taste, there is a certain sense of movement and liveliness which has some appeal. Unfortunately, when comparing your photos with the engraving, I can't escape feeling that you've diverged from the design in some areas in ways which tends to diminish these appealing qualities. So, while I'm not very comfortable assuming the role of "art critic," I'm not even sure it works all that well as sculpture. Complexity of form and tenacity of effort don't automatically translate into aesthetic value.

Please note that I'm not attempting to insinuate that I could do any better. While I've done a fair amount of carving (mostly geometrical handrail elements), I'm not sure that I would have the skills to execute this chair. Though, I'm not likely to ever find out, as I have no interest in undertaking a furniture project which I suspect to be structurally flawed from the outset.

I would be most interested in other people's thoughts, as I feel it worthwhile exchanging views on issues such as these. Even if it means learning that I'm way off base in my assessments.  :-)

Don McConnell
Eureka Springs, AR

Adam Cherubini

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2007, 12:18:04 PM »
Personally, I think anonymity is the bane of polite discussion.  In my experience, anonymity is helpful for folks who wish to write things they don't want to be held accountable for.  (Thankfully there;s no one on the sapfm forum doing this).  So I prefer to take Joe's remarks as invitation to learn more about him.  In my opinion, the appropriate place for personal data is in the sapfm forum members' user profiles and Joe's provided a link to his personal website as have I and others.  That's the right place for it, Joe.

Beyond that, in the 10 or so years I've been active in woodworking internet discussion groups, I've not particularly found a correlation between professionals or highly skilled folks and helpful advice.  This is not to say the pros haven't been helpful. They have.  But in my personal experience, I think I've learned just as much from the hobbyists as anyone.  This tells me that credentials, while interesting and impressive, matter little to me. 

As far as Don's remarks goes, I think its interesting to note how few of Chippendale's designs were faithfully reproduced.  It seems, especially in America, builders chose the bits the liked and discarded the rest. Whether that reflected personal taste, the economic conditions, or structural concerns is interesting to ponder. 

My wife has not been keen to get me to carve furniture for our home.  A chair like Joe's wouldn't survive the barrage of toys, skateboards, and sword fights that are commonplace in my home.  I wonder if this wasn't a consideration influencing design choices.  So many rooms in the 18th c were public.  Pieces like this one really would fair better in a museum gallery than in an actual home.  Still, I think its beautiful carving and I love the texture and finish.   I'm very happy to see it not shiny!  I'm looking forward to seeing more of Joe's reproduction work.

Adam

johnjesseph

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2007, 09:36:24 PM »
  I agree that the chair looks a bit unsound-  very elaborately carved certainly.  I wonder what the origin of the consideration that it would be impossible to reproduce?  Never heard that before...
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 10:44:16 AM by Mark Arnold »

Mark Arnold

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2007, 03:25:19 PM »
Ladies and Gentlemen,

To those of you who have responded to the initial post of this thread, I applaud your usual reserved comments. I know we all agree that there is more than one way to execute a chair from a sketch--especially one that was not reproduced all that much. In addition, we are all aware that it is sometimes difficult to guage the attitude, mood, or intent of a user based solely on the written word. (I never use emoticons as I find them tedious and distracting).
Joseph does raise an interesting question regarding peer critique of one's work. Perhaps it is an American trait to be offended by the suggestion that we should draw attention to our own work. Why should this be? We are all proud of what we do, aren't we? Or is this contrary to the romantic notion of the solitary craftsman, toiling away in his shop, not concerned with financial gain or the acknowledgement of others. His only focus is the personal satisfaction of a job well-done and the fulfillment of creating something that is technically-perfect and beautiful. Most of us would probably proclaim that we don't care what others think of our work. That is not why we chose this craft, afterall. The reality is we are social beings who crave the acceptance of others. Very few of us are Howard Roark.
 Joseph has achieved a certain level of experience within the British trade system, which, like his English, does not translate easily to America.  Of course, there is a certain (and appropriate) prestige that accompanies the titles master plumber, master electrician, master brewer, etc. (I know there are carpenter's unions, but in my part of the country, those are the guys who nail together concrete forms) In the absence of a guild system, what does master cabinetmaker really mean? Today, it could mean that the individual has a table saw and the first twenty issues of Fine Woodworking. Who, then, is the arbiter of the contemporary master? PBS? HGTV? Porter-Cable? the MFA? I would argue that it should be those who have an intimate understanding of the craft and not those profit from its practitioners. There was a time when a masterpiece was just that--a piece made by a craftsman aspiring to become master--and  was judged by others who had already achieved that status. I suspect that that is all Joseph had intended with his post.
I am interested to learn more about Joseph's education. I find it fascinating that a tradesman would also posess a PhD. Joseph, could you share your dissertation with us? Thanks.
NBSS '96, Partial to the Federal Period.

Adam Cherubini

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2007, 05:39:50 PM »
Mark, that's interesting stuff.

Just a couple thoughts:  18th c masters were not solely judged objectively.  Many journeymen were just as capable as their masters.  A "master" craftsman was a business owner, allowed to conduct his trade by the local guild.  The Guilds' concerns extended far beyond maintaining minimum levels of quality or business practices. 

A couple of us here have been recognized by Early American Life Magazine. One of us in particular is recognized year after year (I'll let him share that with you.  Okay okay its Dennis Bork, a guy I've been inspired by and whom I feel deserves to be recognized more often so he doesn't forget what he means to us).  EAL's list of craftsmen is juried by some pretty distinguished folks.  Its not a list of advertisers or some such.  The problem I have with it is that it really judges esthetic. 

Many of us call ourselves "woodworkers" as opposed to furniture makers, which i think is very telling.  Its the process many of us love, not necessarily the product.  When I think of a great woodworker, I think of someone who can saw straight, make clean, tight fitting mortise and tenon joints and someone who produces very little scrap.  Obviously none of this has anything to do with making a good looking chest of drawers.  I thought about this when I was chosen to be included in Early American Life's directory.  To a large extent, I was judged by my ability to execute (in my case) someone else's design.  It was not at all a recognition of my ability as a woodworker, even though the title, "top 200 craftsmen" sounded that way.

Adam
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 10:45:57 AM by Mark Arnold »

walkerg

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2007, 07:01:05 PM »
Adams thoughts on SAPFM acting as a "guild" to potentially define and recognize achievement is interesting. I have a couple of thoughts on this though they may sound random. It could be helpfull even valuable to have a structured path one could aspire to. Many woodworkers I know, never get the pleasure of hand tool work because they haven't grunted through the learning curve and mastered sharpening etc. A suggested curiculum of sorts could act as a springboard to accelerate solid skills.

I also like the approach Mike Dunbar takes at the Windsor Institute. Anyone who has attended his school gets to experiance their tounge in cheek recognition of achievements through the levels of chairmaking. More than anything, they use this concept to make the experiance fun.
Lastly I think that there should be an emphasis on giving back. If we in SAPFM choose to recognize different levels of achievement, the level of master may not be the best designer or carver, but the best mentor.

George Walker
George Walker - hobbiest 25 years, pretty much a hand tool guy, fascinated with 18th century classical design.

msiemsen

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Re: posting you skills and quolifcations all to see
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2007, 11:10:55 AM »
"The Cartouche Award is SAPFM's way of acknowledging the contributions made by craftsmen, educators, conservators, and supporters, professional or hobbyist, who have inspired or instructed others, or who have simply made the world more pleasing as a result of their skillful labors."
(from SAPFM home page)

Mike
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