Fireweed Community Workshop in Minneapolis is dedicated to providing a place for women and non-binary makers to learn and feel comfortable practicing woodworking skills and craft. “Woodworking is traditionally very male and white,” says Nia Zekan, education coordinator. “We try to be inclusive of different communities left on the margins of woodworking.”
On Tuesday, December 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Minneapolis-based American Craft Council is holding a free special event at Fireweed. ACC’s executive director, Andrea Specht, will talk about the beauty and importance of Minnesota craft, and participants can learn more about Fireweed’s programs, classes, and objects for sale. Confirm your attendance by replying to Jenna Brace at email@example.com. Space is limited!
Currently, Fireweed offers classes in furniture, home repair, and craft. Options include crafting stitch-and-plaited whisk brooms, coffee tables or benches, candle-stick holders, a basic bandsaw box, and wood bowls. Fireweed also offers classes in spoon carving, power-tool fundamentals, and how to delve into home-repair projects on old houses.
For the craft classes, says Zekan, “Our instructors source the materials. For our carving and bowl-turning classes, our instructor and founder relies on relationships she’s built over the years with folks with land; if a tree comes down, she uses that wood. She also has connections with arborists in the city. In the past, we’ve gotten wood from the city from trees that have come down. Some of our wood comes from Wood from the Hood. We hope to never cut down a tree just for a class. If a tree is coming down, our classes are great ways to give wood a second life.”
Items available for purchase during classes, or from Fireweed’s website, include gift certificates for classes, carving tools and gloves, wood spoons, teapots, and platters. Many of Fireweed’s classes are open to everyone.
“Once you take your first craft class and realize the material sourcing, preparation, fabrication, and finishing that goes into an object, your worldview opens up,” says Zekan. “You understand that nearly everything around you was made by someone. It’s important for us to be connected to each other and the amount of work that goes into the things we use.”
Moreover, Zekan adds, “I personally have found woodcrafting expansive, in that I feel like I have a little more power to create rather than to just consume.”