With a Steady Focus

It’s hard to convey how small-scale our operation is. For years, Mike Updegraff and I did literally everything in one small shop space. We’ve since built a 24' x 26' wood shop/office and hired Mike and Grace Cox to handle administrative and shipping responsibilities. The two of them do their work together from their house while Mike Updegraff and I work in the shop each day. Especially in times like these, we’re grateful to keep things small.

This morning, the four of us had our monthly team meeting to go over current and upcoming happenings. Grace brought us her delicious pumpkin bread to indulge in as we discussed the soon-to-start inaugural term of our 8-week Apprenticeship program, the progress on Issue Eleven, logistical hurdles with looming software updates, and several upcoming products. These monthly meetings are – to put it frankly – a blast. We really are very dear friends. And we love working together.

After the meeting, I dove right back into the design of Issue Eleven which goes out to Megan Fitzpatrick for copy editing at the end of the week. The deadline feels a little close for comfort at this point, but with a steady focus, the last details will surely fall into place.

Issue Eleven is quite unique in its diversity of arguments. I’ll give you one for-instance. We have several authors commenting on chairmaking and the influence of the lathe on design. Mike Epworth commends shaving parts with a drawknife instead of turning with the lathe because he believes the lathe opens the door to industrial manufacture. Elia Bizzarri’s article, on the other hand, expresses appreciation for the ingenuity of turned chair production. And Hunter Rhodes upholds 19th-century chairmaker Richard Poynor as a noble example of skill and ingenuity in this turned-chair tradition.

This variety of perspectives on historic craft is so valuable to us, and we always look forward to seeing what our authors will submit. We hope M&T continues to be a marketplace of ideas to discuss ways we can preserve and cultivate our craft heritages for 21st-century life.

– Joshua


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