Bill Coperthwaite Democratic Chairs at Maine Coast Craft School, Bristol, Maine
4 day class, September 3rd to 6th, 2022
Starting in the mid 1970s, Bill had a connection to a hand tool woodworking school called Country Workshops. It was located in Western North Carolina and operated by Drew and Louise Langsner from 1979 until 2016, Kenneth was an intern there in 1995.
Kenneth had heard about Bill in 1995 while at Country Workshops it was not until 2003 that the two finally met. Kenneth was teaching wooden boatbuilding and furniture making at the Carpenter's Boat shop in Pemaquid, Maine at the time they met. He began bringing apprentices from the Boat Shop annually to Dickinsons Reach for service projects starting in 2005. Over the years, Kenneth and Bill collaborated on many projects such as making the lightest possible post and rung ladder-back chair, making a wheelbarrow litter to get injured people out of Dickinsons Reach, and a wheelbarrow design symposium to name a few.
The Maine Coast Craft School is a continuation of the Country Workshops legacy. Kenneth and his wife Angela started Maine Coast Craft School in 2017 and carry on in the green woodworking tradition of Country Workshops.
In thinking about which classes to offer at Maine Coast Craft School we thought Bill's democratic bench was a perfect fit. It is simple, beautiful and darn useful. It can also be built entirely with hand tools which is the focus of our off grid craft school. The democratic chair workshop we are offering this year is made from patterns taken directly from Bill's design. Kenneth has continued to evolve the design and add more teachable skills such as carving and sculpting of the surfaces and adding milk paint. These additions add comfort and enhance the simple beauty of these chairs.
During the class Kenneth will share stories about his experiences with Bill. Students will have an opportunity to see many items and structures around the school that are examples of designs inspired by Bill.
Read the class description here.