11 October 2017

First Woodshop Openhouse

I managed to organize a free public event at the woodshop during the National Day holiday. I had tried to coordinate this with the woodshop chief but this proved to be fruitless. I simply plunged ahead and let the woodchips fall.  WeChat (weixin) is the default mainland China chat application and it is equally used for both commercial and personal communication. Since I don't have a national ID, I cannot take full advantage of its business options so I must post on my photostream and then some Chinese supporter can manually repost.
The initial inquiry
This was the first posting to mention the event. It didn't generate much response, except for a couple who teach at university. I set a date based on their availability. And they did come and expressed an interest in classes at the end of November so I can claim a modicum of success.
The invitation
When I was ready to advertise the time of the event I posted this, which generated much more eager enthusiasm for reposting. Nobody appreciated my reference to Tom Sawyer with a 'free' painting party and nobody dared to ask about this reference. And even before the event, I heard the apologists perfunctorily suggest excuses for the low turnout. Unprompted they consoled me: "National holiday. Lots of people go out for traveling." and "The timing is not good. All the Chinese travel outside for the festival." Because what I mostly need to know is when I might be doing anything wrong, not a better option. And naturally it is imagined that potential students are freer to visit during their regular workweek. The concept of RSVP, as I have just learned, is not part of Chinese culture. As it happened, most visitors were my wife's colleagues with whom she gained some face as a result of her reposting and the majority of them arrived without announcing their intentions.
A professor picks up a brush

Iron Red, Iron Yellow, Chromium (III) oxide
Students on task
Two Moravian stools (ein Schemel) and a computer desk organizer
The three young men attending with their mother,  a former colleague of my wife, seemed eager to learn about woodcraft, the smallest in particular. They're at an age, however, junior middle school students, when it's unthinkable that they devote any but all their time and mental energies to preparing for the gaokao examination. They were fun to have around and provided a satisfying counterbalance to the younger 'little emperors' who showed up,  and who demanded more attention from the grownups.

explaining how to use a paintbrush

A family who does woodcraft together...

the importance of keeping the paint properly stirred

focused on task

a mother learns a lesson

I did the preparations for the milk paint in the apartment owned by the woodshop chief. It's still mostly unfinished and so I used the sink in the bathroom. I would have taken photos but it seems weird to take photos in such a place, especially since it was so crowded. I carried the prepared curds back to the underground
Obligatory group photo

In the end, stools were painted; word was spread; goodwill was shared; and connections were established.
Inspired by the works of Samuel Clemens
As gratifying as whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence, I reckon

Then for a moment my back was turned

Keeping old bones from becoming brittle Ultimately, Frisbee

Sundays I don't do woodworking; instead, I can be often found on the campus of Nanjing Normal University (Nanshida) taking advantage of infrequently maintained turf, enjoying the outdoors, and playing a sport that truly deserves a more informative name.
Protected from the sunshine
And yes, there are the rare days with blue skies above Nanjing, generally due to holiday reduction of industrial activities. The following videos were taken on October 8th.

This pickup match involved some recent graduates from a Post Office university, some returnees, and a motley band of the usual suspects. Normally we run some basic drills before engaging in some collegial competition.

As one veteran player commented: "good dump swing practice"

Not being able to reliably post video content is just another side effect of working in the Middle Kingdom.