Friday, August 04, 2017

Sagamore of the Wabash

a sassafras and maple table by Brent at ESSA
This week Marc Adams at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking was presented an award from the Indiana governor naming him a "Sagamore of the Wabash." The Wabash is a river that runs through the state, and Sagamore is a native American term meaning great chief.

A few years back when I was named an Arkansas Living Treasure, Marc, impressed by my award, began wondering if there was a similar award in his state. They have no awards specific to crafts and crafts education, but they have an even higher award that recognizes important cultural and economic contributions to their state. Marc submitted the name of an amazing Indiana craftsman to receive that award, and when that award had been granted,  my great friend Jerry Forshee, submitted Marc's name and accomplishments for consideration for the same award.

I was honored to be asked to write a letter to be read as Marc was to be surprised with having been named a "Sagamore of the Wabash." That letter is as follows:
To whom it may concern,

When we are engaged in making something that is beautiful, useful, or both, there is a whole lot more going on than meets the eye. Character is forged in the heart of the developing craftsman. Intelligence is formed through the coordination of hands and mind in service to the making of beautiful things. If you want to learn something and learn it well, try teaching it to someone else. I have felt honored to share my own skills with others at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. I have become a better woodworker through participating in this school.

In 2009, I was honored in my home state by being named an Arkansas Living Treasure. That particular award is given by the Arkansas Department of Humanities and Arkansas Arts Council to persons who have had some effect in transferring their own skills in traditional crafts to others. I may have gotten that award without having been a teacher at MASW, but I doubt it. If you change one small thing in a world in which all things appear to be interconnected, the whole world follows suit.

What Marc has done in building this school has had profound influence on the lives of others, here in Indiana, and around the world. The experience of being here, whether as student or teacher has given us each new dimensions, empowering us to give more to our families and communities.

And so, what can I say, but thanks? Thanks a million and forever. MASW changes lives. The students from MASW change lives. And Marc stands at the apex of an incredible thing.— Doug Stowe
Jerry reports that they'd kept the secret of the award right up to the last minute. Marc was blown away and received a long standing ovation.  I will spend the day continuing to get ready for my class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking that begins Monday, August 7, 2017.

Students in Steve Palmer's furniture class at ESSA are finishing up, and showed tables they have in progress during yesterday's studio stroll.

Make, fix, create and provide for others to learn likewise.

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