Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Drew Roeder's Road to Creativity

Drew Roeder sits at a drafting table during week seven of the Woodworking Certificate Program. The students are in the midst of Small Scale Design/Build, a transcendent moment in the program when each student is provided the opportunity, for the first time, to design and then build an object from their own creative impulses. Most of the other students are already next door in the shop, milling lumber, making jigs, and moving toward the physical forms of chairs, tables, or sculptural elements. Drew is on another track; he is still figuring out the intricacies of a cartridge for an heirloom quality, double-barrel, rubberband shotgun – to be a gift for his uncle, who happens to be a fairly virulent anti-gun advocate.

As one might guess from someone intent on bringing rubberband shooting to new artistic heights, Drew’s road through life is filled with twists and surprises. He first arrived at Yestermorrow in August of 2013, traveling from southwestern Pennsylvania… on a bicycle. After numerous years bouncing between a variety of labor – from home construction to commercial swimming pool maintenance (“terrible chemicals,” he says) – interrupted by a variety of adventures, he peddled off toward Burlington, Vermont, but with a planned two-week detour at the school to embark on Yestermorrow’s classic Home Design/Build course. It was a revelatory experience.
“I fell in love with the program and decided then and there to take as many Yestermorrow classes as possible,” he said. With some financial backing, Drew enrolled in the school’s current Woodworking Certificate program, and is registered for 10 more classes this coming spring and summer, mostly in the residential scale construction and design realm. 

“I realize that the people are the resource at Yestermorrow,” he said.  “Where else can you get practicing professionals willing to devote themselves to the students, not just during the class, but after hours, and even after the class is finished?  The people here are so helpful, so remarkably open.  I want to keep building those relationships.”

And the revelations keep coming. The Woodworking Certificate has opened the floodgates for Drew’s creative juices. “The opportunity to embark on the design process this week, it clarifies what I love doing. Being able to delve into drawing, figuring out the gears, tolerances, and spacing for the gun cartridge, sketching it out a couple dozen times, making a prototype that worked great. I’m about ready to make the cartridge from sheet metal, and then I’ll be carving by hand the cherry for the gun stock.” He pauses for a brief moment, before adding, “I need to be making stuff!”

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