Meet Leslie Struthers: our wood teacher carving the way for women empowerment! Leslie will be teaching three different Intro to Woodturning for Woman classes. The first one will run on Saturday, January 14. Look out for her other intro class on Sunday February 12 as well as her two-day bowl turning class on March 11 and 12. Each class will teach students to safely use a lathe to turn small projects. This class was designed for women to learn woodturning in a safe, comfortable space. The class covers safety, lathe operation, and proper tool use. You will leave with at least one completed project. Perfect for beginners! Space is limited and fills quickly.
A bit on Leslie’s Background
I have a BA in Art History from The College of Wooster. My family is full of artists, woodworkers and dancers. I dreamed of shapes in wood before I knew what turning was. I followed my interests and researched woodturning on the internet (of course). I then began by taking a class and have been hooked ever since.
What led you to choose your way of working?
Apparently I think in the round, it just makes sense to me. Designs sort of bubble up into my consciousness and turning them helps me define the specifics.
Who are some influential mentors to you and your making?
Edric Florence is my mentor. He is a local turner with whom I worked for about a year. Women turners such as Dixie Biggs and Beth Ireland inspire me.
Talk about your upcoming classes. What do you hope to accomplish through your classes? What are the benefits of making this class gender specific?
My main goal with these classes is to introduce women to wood turning. Many of us were not exposed to “power tools” and feel intimidated by them. Many women are not comfortable in a learning environment with men. It’s not about excluding men, it’s about giving women a space to learn about one facet of woodworking without pressure or any expectation. I believe women learn differently from men and sometimes let men take the lead. My classes are designed to let women lead and learn in a safe place!
What advice would you give to new and emerging turners?
I would say practice making shavings and saw dust. Watch YouTube videos or DVDs. Join local clubs and national ones. Anything to learn and get involved. Get as much lathe time as you can. Have fun and believe in yourself.