Many girls have tried their hand at ceramic art, with 8 out of 10 having some experience in it. However, it’s rare to find even one girl out of 10 who has given woodworking a go. Despite being a traditional and primitive art form that utilizes natural materials like wood to create different products, woodworking is often associated with being a more masculine and construction-oriented craft. The process can also be physically demanding and sweaty. However, with the evolution of society, woodworking has become more gender-neutral, and girls can also try their hand at it. For example, woodturning is a craft that is particularly suited to girls starting out. By learning to use a wood lathe and chisels, they can create small wooden items.
In recent years, the most challenging aspect of learning new woodturning for girls is not necessarily technical control. As mentioned earlier, starting with small wooden products doesn’t require as much physical strength as people might imagine, and most girls can handle it. Instead, the most challenging aspect of learning woodworking for girls is needing more confidence and courage than others. They may need to ignore the curious looks of others or the concerns of their parents. If I were to tell my parents that I wanted to learn woodworking, they would probably have a more traditional mindset and think that it’s dangerous and not suitable for girls. Even though they wouldn’t stop me, I’d still have to believe in myself and my abilities and take the first step in trying it out. I believe that girls can enjoy the fun of woodworking and appreciate the beauty of woodworking art.
There are currently several woodworking experience courses available in Hong Kong, including White Dog Workshop, Woodout, and CornerCrafts, which are particularly suited to girls with no prior woodworking experience. These courses teach the characteristics of various woods, such as hinoki, pine, walnut, or zelkova, with over 10 different types and different grades of quality. Each type also boasts unique grain patterns and colours.
Participants will also have the chance to experience using a wood lathe and chisels. The wood lathe has a serene base with a track, headstock, tool rest, and tailstock. The wood is clamped onto the headstock, and the rotating principle is used to process it with the chisels held by hand. Participants will also learn how to use precision measuring tools to craft their wooden products.
In addition to hands-on woodworking, the workshops also cover post-treatment and protection, including the use of wood oils and post-production protection for wooden handicrafts.
For a first attempt, you could try making “Wood handmade wooden plates or utensils” or “Wood Turning handmade wooden pens”. These are relatively easy wooden products to make and are highly practical once completed. The handmade wooden pen is particularly suitable as a graduation or commemorative gift, enabling you to convey your heartfelt sentiments to your friends.
If you’re looking for a gift for your significant other, the wooden ring course offered by “White Puppy Workshop” is also very popular among couples.
Do not assume that woodworking is only for men or that women are only suitable for small-scale woodworking. In fact, women are also capable of learning medium to large-scale woodworking. If you enjoy large-scale woodworking, consider the “Burumu Carpentry” Torii Stool woodworking class. The Torii Stool uses cross-joints and oblique cutting angles to create the shape of a Torii Stool, and the North American black walnut wood brings out the beautiful and refreshing lines of the entire piece.
Large-scale woodworking takes longer to complete, but there are currently courses available for large-scale wooden furniture. For example, “Yat Muk” has shared student works. The owner of “Food on Muk Muk” said that “as a small girl dealing with large solid wood furniture, it is somewhat challenging. I have to use force to move and lift things, and open 200 rolled door wooden strips one by one, trim and polish each one. It is actually not easy.” She also mentioned that fortunately, her optimistic and patient personality, combined with the guidance of a caring teacher, enabled her to successfully create her first piece, a rolled wood cabinet. She also shared the joy of learning woodworking on social media, saying “every class involves counting and drawing lines with heavy machinery. Every time, I learn something new and I feel like I’m jumping out of the classroom. Learning is a happy thing.”
Discovering the Rich Diversity of Woodturning
Woodturning is a form of woodworking in which a lathe is used to spin and shape wood into various forms and designs. The lathe is a machine that rotates the wood at high speed while the woodworker uses various tools to cut and shape the wood as it spins.
Before immersing myself in the world of woodworking, I held the belief that wood was a hard and inflexible material, and that woodworking was not as malleable as ceramics, which can be easily molded. However, after delving into various workshops and courses, I discovered the “Baiquan Workshop,” which boasts a range of intriguing and creative works. For example, the workshop’s wooden flowers, crafted from natural wood, are both durable and aesthetically pleasing, making them a popular choice among women. The petals’ diverse colours are achieved by using different wood species, such as red pear wood for red petals and purpleheart wood for purple ones. The stem and leaves are made from green sandalwood, which initially appears yellow-brown but gradually turns green over time due to oxidation.
Customers have the option to choose a single colour or a combination of two colours. In addition to customizing orders with the Baiquan Workshop, students are also welcome to learn how to make them, with a high degree of authenticity.
When it comes to surprising and innovative wooden creations, I must draw attention to the famous Hong Kong dim sum dish, “Siu Mai”. As a member of the “Siu Mai” appreciation group, I was thrilled to discover a wooden version of this dish, filled with intricate details and flexibility. It never crossed my mind that “Siu Mai” could be created from wood! The “Siu Mai” skin is made from boxwood, while the fish filling is made from maple wood. The workshop even offers a “Siu Mai”-making course, which has piqued my interest greatly!
This Malted Flower Cup is a Nostalgic Treasure with a Hong Kong-style Twist, Perfect for Grabbing a Bite at Any Hong Kong Restaurant. The white paper cup features a charming orange-yellow wheat field and sun design, while the cup itself is expertly crafted from maple wood, with the wheat portion made from acacia confusa and red sandalwood for an incredibly realistic look. The workshop’s other creative wooden wonders, such as their Hong Kong-style cakes, are infused with imaginative flair that truly deserves admiration!
The proprietor of Baiquan Workshop, Dickens, once shared on social media, “I’ve been hooked on many things, like playing guitar, surfing, fishing, woodworking, skipping, boxing…to the extent that my mind never stops thinking about it, researching it online, and practicing it. And then, someone admires you and supports you.” It was also Dickens’ fascination with the art of woodworking that initially drew his partner, Canter, to it. Although Canter used to teach embroidery and was initially hesitant about woodworking, she gradually fell in love with it as she experimented with it. She once shared, “Each piece of wood has its own personality, and the wood grain only reveals itself at the end. Each one is different, which is a delightful surprise.”
As an editor, I have a deep appreciation for wooden products and the natural beauty they exude – from the unique texture of the wood to the warmth it radiates and the fragrant aroma it gives off. And I strongly believe that woodworking classes aren’t just for guys; girls can derive just as much satisfaction from them. By focusing on the lathe, watching the wood chips fly, and using their concentration to clear their minds, women in the city can take a break from their worries and escape the pressure of daily life, if only for a little while. These classes are truly special and rare, and I think more women should give them a try!
“Woodturning is more than just a new skill to master. It allows you to rediscover the natural beauty of wood and tap into your own creativity. By immersing yourself in the focused craft of woodturning and experiencing the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands, it can become a way to unwind and find joy in your everyday life.”-editor’s note