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 18, 2014

Jude Connelly Sees the Science Behind the Wood

During the lunch break, the sounds of machinery in the woodshop are distant as a student pulls out his banjo and starts to pick. This is a very busy week for the Woodworking Certificate crew: Now in Week 6 of their program, they are constructing two elegant cabinetry units for a client. But things are going well. They are ahead of schedule and under budget.  According to Program Director, Justin Kramer, this is partially due to  
the effectiveness of the project management, a responsibility the instructors are sharing with two of the students. One of those students is Jude Connelly.

Jude came to Yestermorrow from a Cambridge, MA, biotech science lab, Metabolics, where he was involved with creating biodegradable plastics.  He enjoyed the end-product of the work, but was feeling like a cog in a system and decided it was time to do something about it and find something he really enjoyed.  “I feel like I’m on the right path now,” Jude explains. “The whole design/ build process and working with wood really meshes with me.”

Jude studied science since he was very young, and he is finding the transition to furnituremaking isn’t really that far-fetched. “I always wanted to know why things are the way they are. I appreciate working with wood because it is a scientific process, from the layers of each species to the molecular components.  It’s not a cut-and-dry banging pieces of wood together.  There are so many aspects to woodworking.  I use my scientific background to cut a piece of wood.  It involves the same precision as scientific research, for example.  I am very detail-oriented.”

But furnituremaking is allowing his creative voice a new-found place in the mix. He explains how he had a transformative moment when he got to take an abandoned white oak trailer bed and make a top for a cabinet.  “I enjoyed taking something that had lost its use and make something beautiful out of it.” 

Jude is seeing his future path begin to take shape -- he has already landed a cabinetry job for this summer. “I’m really trying to pay attention to the details this week, so I can apply these skills this summer, from the drafting to the building. This course is changing my view-point on life.  No matter what, I know I will be working with wood. I’m loving what I’m doing here, and I’m not going to stop.”

by Nic Tuf

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