I was nearly asleep last night when a realisation bubbled up from inside me.
I had limited myself over the years by saying ‘I’m really good at the people, information, thinking blah blah stuff – but – I’m not a maker’.
In previous blogs I’ve talked about my wish to buy/build a home near Ballinamore. I want to know more about the whole building and DIY process. I want to be part of creating my home in ways that go beyond picking the cushions. I want to be able to make informed decisions about the materials and building processes in my home – and – I’d like to make tables and chairs and shelves that become part of my home.
When I went to school girls didn’t get to go to woodwork classes. We had to do cooking and sewing – both of which I ended up getting banned from because I broke things by accident. The beginning of a belief that I was a good thinker (got A’s in the theory) but a crap user of tools.
Years later I tried an evening woodwork course. Bad choice. The male instructor was not interested in teaching any of the women and tended to huddle with the guys who already knew what they were doing. I left that one after the first night.
And the years go by.
I remember helping a friend when he was building his home. I got chatting to the carpenter and asked if he would run a course for women on basic carpentry and DIY. Good chat but nothing ever came of it.
The only good experience I had with power tools and making was on a visit to Oz. My Dad and me spent 2 days making a gorgeous wee box from scrap wood. He’s a great teacher and showed me how all the tools worked. He was patient and supportive. He insisted on me doing the job well through all its stages. I had the best time and learnt heaps – and got to spend some amazing time with my Pa. I still have the box and it has pride of place in my office. If Pa lived here I know I would have learnt more making by now.
So, at midnight I powered up the laptop and started doing searches for – woodwork; DIY; self build; etc courses in Ireland. Found a few chairmaking courses and long accredited carpentry courses but very few short courses. I did find out about a self build exhibition for 3 days in late May in Galway. I might go to that but I’m worried about Galway’s water problem (basically you can’t wash and drink it as it’s badly contaminated).
This morning I emailed my local Vocational Education Committee Education Officer and asked if they run courses in woodwork; basic DIY and self building. We’ll see what reply I get. Right now, I feel like finding a really good carpenter and paying him (I’d love to find a woman carpenter but the trades are still male dominated) to teach me.
Before June I will find a course or person who can begin to teach me how to use tools and make wood furniture and basic DIY. I will go to the self build exhibition and learn heaps.
Watch out world. I can see me with my tool belt helping build or renovate my home in the not too distant future. And I may use my other skills to organise a course or two for women who want to learn the skills.
It’s interesting how we an create blindspots and beliefs that limit the whole potential of what we can be and do. And – we have the power to challenge and change those beliefs. Roll on the building and making skills.
Have a great week.