Greenwood Class Instructors

We’re excited to bring you a group of top-notch carving and woodworking instructors for the inaugural greenwood festival. Take a look at this year’s Greenwood Wrights’Fest instructors.

Keynote Instructor: Roy Underhill

Roy Underhill

Roy is known to many in the hand tool woodworking community as “Saint Roy”. As kind and generous as Roy is, he is no saint but his knowledge of traditional woodworking is practically encyclopedic, making him a true scholar of old school woodworking. Roy’s mission is to reach out into the wider community and demonstrate a more self reliant sustainable way of living in the world. In hopes that more people in the community will choose craftsmanship over consumerism.

Roy is the author of seven books and has inspired enthusiasm for traditional craftsmanship at The Woodwright’s School since 2014, where he has been doing what he calls “subversive woodworking” by having interesting woodworking tools and items in the windows of his school on Main Street in Pittsboro, attracting locals into the school as they conduct classes. He has a large collection of vintage woodworking texts at his school and in his small vintage cottage next to his meticulously restored three story mill house.

Roy studied theater and worked on sets at UNC. He came back to the area from a stint at a commune in New Mexico with his wife, Jane. Then he got a Multidisciplinary Masters in Forestry from Duke, where his thesis was on muscle powered tools. In Durham he had a small shop called the Woodwright’s Shop, where he coined the term and taught hand tool woodworking. Roy pitched the concept of a “how to show” to UNC TV and the Woodwright’s Shop debuted in 1979. Roy’s show entertained generations for 37 years on National Public TV.

Roy has a historical interest and tremendous respect for early African American craftsmen and tool makers who “turned nature into culture” despite the brutal difficulties they faced building much of the south. During the pandemic, Roy held many classes at his school via Zoom and did a podcast with Cut the Craft, and helped Jasper Mayer, a young very talented hand tool enthusiast, build and raise a timber frame shop, and guided him to do research on an African American joiner, William Hamilton Cummings. Mortise & Tenon magazine in Issue VIII published an article about Roy, “Subversive Woodwright.”

“We are creators and teachers. The confidence of humankind is based not on superior strength or speed but on our abilities to shape the materials of our environment and to communicate our experiences. With each swing of the axe, each joining of the wood, you build and preserve within you the living memory of this timeless trade. The satisfaction you gain is well deserved.”

Additional Instructors

Tom Bartlett

Tom Bartlett of Sylva Spoon is a native of the UK but a resident of Madison Wi for these past 6 years. He’s been carving spoons since he got his first hatchet in 2008 and hasn’t stopped since. He’s carved in the UK, South Korea, Costa Rica, Iraq, Sweden, and across the US. His favorite wood to carve is black cherry and his favorite tool to use is the carving hatchet.

Liesl Chatman

Liesl is a greenwood spoon carver, kolroser, and teacher. She carves and kolroses to feed her soul and teaches to build community. Spoons have always been in her life. Her background as a hand lettering artist and graphic journaler are large influences in both her spoon forms and kolrosing. Liesl’s spoons have been exhibited at the American Swedish Institute and the Vesterheim Museum, and she has taught kolrosing, spoon carving, and given talks at North House Folk School (NHFS), the American Swedish Institute, Fireweed, the Milan Spoon Gathering, and Greenwoodfest. When not wielding an axe, Liesl works at the Science Museum of Minnesota and has received national recognition for her work in education, equity, and organizational change.

Mike Cundall

Mike has been carving spoons and bowls for about eight years. Bowls are his favorite, but crooked spoons are a close second. He has taught bowl and spoon carving at John C Campbell Folkschool and Wood and Shop in Earlysville, Virginia. He focuses on teaching the fundamentals of wood processing and layout and design as it relates to bowl and spoon carving. He has also done a bit of green woodworking making a chair and stool. When he’s not in the shop he is a philosophy professor interested in humor. 

Brendan Gaffney

Brendan Gaffney is a woodworker, writer and teacher based in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York. After training at The College of the Redwoods (now The Krenov School) in Northern California, Gaffney has spent the past decade working as a cabinetmaker, chairmaker and basketmaker, with an emphasis on holistic craft that starts at the source of his materials. As a writer, he has written for Popular Woodworking and Mortise and Tenon Magazine, and wrote “Leave Fingerprints,” a biography of James Krenov for Lost Art Press, published in October 2020. Gaffney has also worked as a designer and contributor on several other published works, most recently as illustrator and aide on Jennie Alexander’s third revision of “Make A Chair from a Tree.” As a teacher, Gaffney has taught at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, Port Townsend School of woodworking, Lost Art Press and in private classes, with a focus on both cabinetmaking, toolmaking and green woodworking. In his personal practice, Gaffney has worked to research and revive old techniques and add to them the capabilities of the modern workshop. This work has included green woodworking techniques of chairmaking and basketmaking, pre-industrial cabinetmaking, non-traditional uses of green materials (bast, bark and branch) and a slew of modern machines and technologies, including CNC machining and digital design and rendering.

Bonnie Grace

Bonnie is a RYT 200 Kundalini Yoga Teacher. She graduated from World Peace Yoga School in Rishikish, India as a student of World Renowned Yogi Guru Vishnu. She currently resides in the Asheville, NC area where she serves as an Akashic Healer and Yoga teacher offering private sessions and classes. She is certified through Yoga Alliance. For more information, About Bonnie Grace, you can contact her at www.graceofhealingnc.com or you can listen to her podcast Self-Love With Grace of Healing.

Tad Kepley

Tad picked up his grandfather’s whittling knife in 2015 and is now a greenwood spoon carver. Kepley is passionate about spreading the joy of spoon carving and has carved over 2,500 spoons since beginning his journey. Tad enjoys carving other small greenwood projects like cups, bowls, hooks, and bag clips. Tad has taught Spoon Carving at John C. Campbell Folk School and won three awards for his hand-carved spoons. When not carving spoons he is a school director for advanced law enforcement training.
Jasper Mayer

Jasper Mayer

Jasper is a senior in high school who is passionate about sustainable living and hand tool woodworking in Pittsboro, NC. Jasper was sixteen when he decided to build his own timber frame shop. He worked very hard during the pandemic to realize his dreams, and in the process became a man and built community. He learned to hand hew logs, do joinery and had a party to raise his timber frame shop in May of 2021. Jasper harvested the timbers and hand hewed most of them by himself . Roy Underhill, and Roy’s friend from Williamsburg, Peter Ross, his grandfather, and Cara supported his efforts to build his own timber frame shop. Under Roy’s tutelage, Jasper also researched an African American joiner, William Hamilton Cummings, who lived in Lexington Virginia in 1868. It is young men like Jasper that give us hope for this crazy world we live in.

Barton Moyers

Bart has been working as a professional woodworker and enthusiast for 30 years. Two decades in fine furniture manufacture led to an unexpected career shift into production management, process design, and commercial millwork. Parallel interests in old tools, machinery, and woodworking techniques have fueled an ongoing dedication to a craft-centered life. He collects vintage wooden bodied planes and his ability to sharpen complex moulding plane blades is astounding. He spends as much time as possible making fan birds, furniture and wood shavings in his home workshop. He lives with his wife and two sons near Durham, NC.

Don Nalezyty

Don Nalezyty has been carving since he was a child. Despite a day job in the IT world, he studied arts and design at university and has always had the need to make things with his hands.  For the last 13 years, he has focused on carving, kolrosing, and finishing greenwood spoons and other treen.  He has studied with woodworkers from across the globe learning traditional methods for working with green or unseasoned wood. As an internationally recognized spoon carver, Don has taught workshops in spoon carving and decoration across the US and abroad.

Cara O'Connell

Cara has always been a tomboy and felt at home in the woods, rivers and forest. Her love of nature and hand tool woodworking was developed at her remote family camp in Maine. As a young woman she completed a four year carpentry apprenticeship and worked as a high end trim carpenter for many years in the DC area. She worked on a farmhouse in Pennsylvania with an Amish Crew, where she spent long hours in the evenings carving spoons and walking sticks. After moving to North Carolina with her family she completed her studies at UNC and worked as a Physical Therapist.

In 2014, Cara met Roy Underhill turning spindles on a spring pole lathe under a big oak tree at Shakori Hills and soon became mesmerized by green woodworking. Her fascination with carving spoons, bowls, and shrink pots, led her to make furniture with riven legs, and organic figurative sculpture with hickory bark. Cara teaches classes on Appalachian bark buckets and Sloyd at the Woodwright’s School with her mentor Roy Underhill. After experiencing the Greenwood Festival in Plymouth in 2017, she and Roy decided to build a greenwood festival here in Pittsboro, NC.

Oliver Pratt

Oliver is a craftsmanship junky. He loves all things made with an intelligent, thoughtful, creative mind and body. He has been fascinated with craft and greenwood working for ten years and spent the majority of that time turning bowls on a pole lathe. His work is inspired by many traditions, but primarily Scandinavian craft, Japanese craft, Norwegian ale bowls, as well as many contemporary craftspeople. He works to balance proportion, line, and flow to create beautiful craft for everyday use. Oliver lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York, on the traditional lands of the Lenape peoples.

B. Terry Ratliff

Terry is a craftsman, inspired by southern Appalachian chair makers like Irvine Messer and Chester Cornett. Like them, he is a lifelong post and rung chair maker whose work reflects the inspiration he garnered from his mentors. Terry is passionate about his journey making functional heirloom quality chairs, and sharing his skills. He gathers materials from local forests and produces heirloom quality chairs with timeless green wood joinery techniques, using no metal fasteners or glues. Using wet to dry joinery techniques that employ natural shrinkage are historically proven designs that hold chair frames solid. This hand craft utilizes raw local materials with no outsourcing other than finishes. In his forty plus years of chair making Terry has worked from local art shows to the National Wholesale Craft Market in Washington DC. Now with the pandemic and approaching retirement years his woodworking focus is closer to home in his log cabin in the Eastern Kentucky foothills. Terry is also an avid whitewater adventurer.

Emilie Rigby

Emilie is a green woodworker, botanical illustrator, and pyrographer. She lives in a cottage on a lake in Upstate NY where she makes art, chops wood, and enjoys nature. Emilie has been carving for 11 years and has been teaching woodworking, handcraft, survival skills, and naturalist skills at various places across the country for the past 8 years. She understands how difficult it can be to be an absolute beginner at something and makes a point of welcoming all skill levels in her classes. She has a degree in Environmental Science which has served as inspiration and foundational knowledge for her artwork and carvings. She believes in the importance of sourcing her raw materials locally and finds value in making beautiful things out of otherwise discarded materials. Using a hatchet and a paintbrush (and a few other tools), she crafts these discarded materials into detailed and accurate homages to the natural world.

Aaron Sparks

Aaron has been carving spoons for about four years and dabbles, mostly unsuccessfully, in greenwood chair and stool making. He picked up spoon carving after moving to rural Ohio after spending five years in Santa Barbara. Aaron’s favorite spoons to carve are for eating and prefers cherry, walnut, and birch. When not carving or parenting two young daughters, he is a political science professor.

Ty Thornock

Ty grew up in the desert valleys of Washington State amidst orchards and onions. He grew up around woodworking but hadn’t discovered greenwood carving until 2013 while watching an episode of the Woodwright’s Shop in which they carved a spoon. With a couple of cheap knives and an old carpenter’s hatchet, he began his carving journey. With six children and a limited time and a limited budget, spoon carving made the perfect entry point into carving.

Now living in Iowa, Ty is a teacher of talented and gifted students at a rural school where he also runs an after-school carving club for students in 4th through 8th grade. In the carving community, Ty is best known for his kolrosed spoons. His passion is making carving accessible to children and much of his time is devoted to this endeavor.

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