Summer programs at Morgan-Manning House teach kids historic crafts

By on June 25, 2018
Gordy Fox stands with two model boxes that Carriage House Kids can build and take home in this summer’s class on old-fashioned tools and carpentry. The shop is upstairs in the Carriage House on the Morgan-Manning House property. Photo by Dianne Hickerson

Gordy Fox stands with two model boxes that Carriage House Kids can build and take home in this summer’s class on old-fashioned tools and carpentry. The shop is upstairs in the Carriage House on the Morgan-Manning House property. Photo by Dianne Hickerson

Gordy Fox and Rozenn Bailleul-LeSuer both agree on the value of young people learning a traditional craft.  For Gordy it is learning to use early tools and techniques historically used by carpenters.  “You could knock off this tool box in much less time with modern tools. But, you would not get the hand-to-eye skills for sawing or chiseling, as early carpenters did in the 1800’s and before.”  Rozenn sees the value of young people learning early methods of making fabric from original animal fibers or cotton and flax. “Growing up in rural Brittany, France, I heard my mother and grandmother telling me about their evenings spent sewing, knitting, and doing embroidery. For many families clothes were simply made at home.”

Carriage House Kids, July 9 through July 13, 8 a.m. to noon. Gordy Fox, President of the Western Monroe Historical Society, will be instructing in a carpenter shop in the Carriage House on the grounds of the Morgan-Manning House at 151 Main Street in Brockport. Anyone from 13 years old and older can build his or her own pine chest using traditional carpentry techniques and tools.

Two years ago, the class was held with two boys and two girls participating.  They made a traditional tool box that a carpenter’s apprentice would have made for himself.  Gordy says the parents have informed him that all of them have the boxes in their bedrooms.  The most challenging skill was in making dovetail joints. “The kids made all their own,” he said. “I just gave instructions and laid them out. They took instructions well, looked at each other’s work, and figured it out. I had trouble getting them to quit at the scheduled time, because they didn’t want to stop.”

This year, students will have the choice of the carpenter’s tool box or a smaller box for general use (see photo). Also, the number of class days have increased this year, as well as the class length, to allow more time to finish.  The classes are held on Monday through Friday, July 9 through 13, from 8 a.m. to noon. Deadline for registering is June 29. A maximum of six people can be accepted in order to provide individual attention. The fee is $50 for the materials used.

Fiber Art, August 14 to 16, 10 a.m. to noon. Rozenn is the Historian for the Western Monroe Historical Society.  She is helping to organize the classes in Fiber Art being held from August 14 to August 16 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Carriage House of the Morgan-Manning House.  Julie Wilson, a 4th grade teacher in the Brockport School District, is in charge of the program. Children ages 8 to 12 will learn about fibers, such as wool and cotton, where they come from, how they were made into fabric then crafted for personal or household use in the past.

On the first day there will be demonstrations of the spinning wheels and weaving looms. The next day each student will have a simple loom for weaving. On the third day they will do simple finger knitting. “They will all leave with something they have made,” Rozenn said.  “And, they may get interested and continue a craft.”  She commented on the personal rewards for making things with traditional crafts, “feeling the pride of having accomplished that by yourself, for example, a sweater or a beautiful box. It’s not always easy, but, compared to purchasing the item in a store, there is a sense of pride and fulfillment. We want to instill that in children.” Deadline for registering is July 15. The registration fee is $15.

Phone the Morgan-Manning House to reserve for either program: 637-3645.  Space is limited for both programs.

 

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