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Saturday, April 19, 2014

US art envoy teaches advanced carpentry skills

Students work together on their table. (Contributed Photo) A three-week advanced woodworking training ended in August, graduating 12 trainees, including one woman. The trainees learned advanced carpentry skills for building tables and chairs from local wood using techniques that did not require the use of nails or screws.

The U.S. Embassy sponsored the workshop held at College of Micronesia-Pohnpei’s vocational building in Kolonia. The workshop was the result of a grant designed to draw on the artistic skills of local artisans to provide training for improving their skills to produce economically viable products.

Planning for the workshop began in May when USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service harvested and prepared a fallen mangrove tree for use in the workshop. The wood was allowed to dry and was the sole source of material used for the tables and benches built during the project.

The instructor, Bill Hewitt, from Boston, Massachusetts, worked with the students for three weeks. The students represented a range of communities around Pohnpei, including Nukuoro, Mokil, and Kapingamarangi. At the completion of the program, the students produced five tables and two chairs. The finished products will be distributed to locations around the island to highlight the potential for locally made products to create an economic benefit to local individuals.

The participants were encouraged upon completion of the course to return to their communities and use their newly acquired skills to produce wood products to earn an income. Instructors at Pohnpei Campus have made plans to incorporate the techniques acquired through the training into the existing cabinetmaking curriculum. (COM)

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