Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bangor Daily News Features Tools for Women Workshops

Blueberry at work.
(From Bangor Daily News)
Blueberry is featured in today's Bangor Daily News. Writer Christopher Cousins asks her about the challenges of working in the construction industry as a woman and highlights the upcoming Tools for Women workshop and class series at Shelter. Here's a selection from the article:

[Patsy] Hennin, who founded the Shelter Institute in 1974 with her husband, Pat, instilled in her daughter the belief that a woman can do just about anything a man can do — even on a construction site working with timbers weighing several hundred pounds. Still, Beeton knows there are others who don’t share that belief, including a lot of women. 
“The idea that women could be involved in building their own homes was always a given for me,” said Beeton, who is a vice president and instructor at the Shelter Institute. “Construction is a really hard field for women, but at times I’ve forgotten that. I’ve been in the field my whole life and sometimes I forget that there is sexism.” 
To help women either break into the construction field, start building their own home or simply be more informed when dealing with hired contractors, Beeton has launched a series of workshops designed especially for women. Though numerous women have completed the 37-year-old Shelter Institute’s classes over the years and gone on to do everything from hobby woodworking to building their own homes, this marks the first time the organization has offered classes where men are not invited. 
“The idea isn’t that you have to do every little thing by yourself,” said Beeton. “Understanding how something works enables you to either do it or speak articulately with someone you’ve hired.”
In each Design Build or Purely Post and Beam class, Blueberry watches women succeed. Knowing that women can do equally well what men do when they have the time and confidence to acquire the skills is the inspiration behind the Tools for Women workshop and class series.

The Tools for Women workshop series began in February with Basic Tool Selection. This discussion of hand and power tools taught students how to evaluate them based on use, budget, and fit for a woman’s frame. The next class in the series, Sharpening for Women, is scheduled for March 17th and continues where the last course left off. Beeton explains, “Sharpening is essential because sharp tools are safer and more fun to use." On April 28th, the series presents Hands-On Sawhorse Building Workshop for Women, a course which gives women an opportunity to put tools to use by precisely measuring, cutting, and assembling their own sawhorse to take home and brag about. The Power Tool Selection for Women workshop on May 19th teaches women how to size and select the right tool and buy with confidence.

The series concludes with the Purely Post and Beam for Women course, which will run from October 21st to October 27th. During this week-long course the class builds and raises a 24’x24’ timber frame, complete with notched braces, dovetailed tenons, and wedged mortise and tenon joints, all made with hand tools. This is Shelter’s most popular course, offered for the first time just for women.

Courses are open to women regardless of where they fall in the spectrum of building, renovating, maintaining, or woodworking. Attendees need not have taken any of the previous courses to sign up. Participants can register online.

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