June 2023 – In 2022, Susan St. John attended a Letter Carving workshop at CFC. “Letter carving requires me to slow down, to attend completely to each minute detail of wood, of sharpening stone, of chisel, of letter. It is a process which cannot be forced: I am learning from the inside.” In early 2023, Susan was a part of the CFC Fellowship Program for seven weeks to focus exclusively on carving letters.
After a career in architecture and teaching with Outward Bound for many decades, Susan attended the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, where she built an 11′ skiff. “I had built things before – a curved cradle, a sea chest, a Japanese toolbox, a number of houses,” Susan said, “but I had never focused so completely on the meditative process of working with my hands. The conception was easy; the craftsmanship was new.” After a visit to CFC with other participants from the A-shop, Susan found a new community of makers here at the Center.
Susan deeply appreciated the level of skill from CFC instructors and the community, sharing “their ability to look at any situation and to think it through to a creative and beautiful solution, is awe inspiring. As at Outward Bound and the ApprenticeShop, I see students and Fellows stretched past self-imposed limits. The community at CFC is of people at their best: the bar is high, the spaces and tools are fabulous, and help is there for the asking. I equate working at CFC to Outward Bound when climbing and to the ApprenticeShop when building a boat: the safety rope is there – with someone you can trust at the other end – but the climb – at CFC the project itself – is ultimately up to you. That makes beauty – and builds community.”
For years Susan’s inspiration has been the words of Goethe:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Now she adds words from Scott Nearing from Maine:
Do the best that you can
In the place where you are,
And be kind.