WOO's mission is to create a professional woodworking environment which cultivates and promotes the careers of women and gender non-conforming craftspeople in our field. In doing so we aim to:
AMPLIFY OUR VOICES
BE A COLLABORATIVE SPACE FOR PROFESSIONALS
TRAIN ALL SKILL LEVELS IN A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT
PROVIDE APPRENTICESHIP OPPORTUNITIES
A Note from woo's founder
I often return to a snippet of a quote, written more than a century ago, in 1877 by William Morris, about the fundamental importance of learning from “the best school, the school of successful practice going on around you.” I think the concept Morris promotes has profound ties to what Virginia Woolf was getting at, about 85 years ago, when she wrote the words that grace our welcome page: "For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice." The work we make today stands on the shoulders of those who made before us, of those who are making around us. We need more women who are practicing furniture makers. We need to cultivate a diversity of voices in our field. And we need to willfully create dedicated workshops to support and champion these voices.
At the university level, it’s easy to forget how underrepresented women are in the field of furniture making. Many of today's furniture design programs enroll a predominance of woman-identifying students. But step out into the commercial world and you are reminded. At both of the last two major design and craft fairs at which I exhibited my work, I was asked if the work was made by my husband. I tried not to be offended. The askers were embarrassed when they realized their mistake. Their mistake is a manifestation of our larger, cultural understanding of furniture making. And we are the makers of our culture. We can choose to build workshops like we are building here in Baltimore. We can provide supportive creative environments to young people who might be overlooked for an apprenticeship, or treated differently, based solely on their gender identity. We can, in turn, produce and exhibit good work in our communities. In doing so, we have the opportunity to alter “the experience of the mass... behind the single voice.”