Mildred’s Lane Dispatch

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David Brooks tests the completed pole lathe at Mildred’s Lane (photo by Walker Tufts)

The Mildred’s Lane Fellows have completed the pole lathe using entirely materials from the land, and are ready to test its performance cutting green wood, split and foraged from recently fallen trees of beech, hickory and white oak. As I have logged on these pages, my long term goal with this project, which I call Deep Craft: Open Source Bioregional Innovation, is to develop a new chair design in the tradition of the Windsor, but that is identified as an icon of Mildred’s Lane. Over the remaining week, David Brooks, Tyler McPhee and other Fellows will experiment with creating simpler products for use on the grounds and indoors as part of the daily routine at Mildred’s Lane. We hope to offer the best of these for sale on these pages in the coming months, and incorporate what we’ve learned in the process in the design of a Mildred’s Lane chair in the future.

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leaf of the American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

To guide their experimentation with the pole lathe, I’m encouraging the students to mimic the contours of the leaves of select species of tree in the shapes of products turned on the pole lathe. Experience has taught me that the morphology of a specific tree is often reflected in how the wood shapes, the wood’s inherent properties tending towards certain patterns of form. A candlestick that demonstrates this principle, for example, could be an elegant expression of how Like finds Like.

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sketch for the lathe support by David Brooks

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