Sunday, June 22, 2014

Worth The Effort

Shawn Graham has run the Wortheffort Woodworking School for the past year in San Marcos, Texas. However, there's not a large enough population in the immediate area to sustain it, so he's made the business decision to relocate to Austin, with a much larger population and potential student base.

He needs to cover startup costs in Austin, primarily rent and utilities on a space while he does renovations to prepare it. So he's started an Indiegogo campaign to fund it. He offers a number of perks in return at various contribution levels; there's also a level consisting of a direct contribution with no perk.

The back story is that Shawn was a high school technology education teacher, but changing state educational priorities and funding cuts put an end to that. So he went all in on his dream to create a small woodworking school.

You can see from the photos and videos on his Indiegogo gallery page that he put tremendous sweat equity into it, along with his savings and retirement funds, driven by his passion for the craft and desire to share the knowledge.

He's created a wonderful school, and it's worth our effort to help him see it continue. He's created the kind of place that all of us would like to teach in and take classes in. He shares many of my feelings about woodworking and its educational value.

The outcomes are apparent from the smiles on the faces of his students, young and old. You can see their pride in accomplishment (and some surprise at what they were able to do!).

In addition to teaching on his own, Shawn has brought in a number of well-known guest instructors for intensive courses. Past instructors include Christopher Schwarz, former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, and most recently one of my Internet acquaintances, Shannon Rogers, who runs the online Hand Tool School.

It was Shannon's blog post about being the last instructor at the San Marcos location that alerted me to the Indiegogo campaign. Read his post, and read the campaign page. I hope you'll agree with me that this is worth not only the effort, but a contribution.

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