Fireweed Community Woodshop


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empowering women & non-binary makers through the art of woodcraft

  • 05 December 2021 1:49 PM | jess hirsch (Administrator)


    TERESA AUDET (she/her) 

    Teresa Audet is an artist from Minneapolis working in wood, fiber arts, and basketry. Audet holds a BFA in Furniture Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has studied at the Mount Fuji School of Fine Woodworking in Yamanashi, Japan. Currently, she is working towards an MFA in Woodworking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Audet has had numerous exhibitions, residencies, and taught classes at craft schools nationwide, including Fireweed, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Arrowmont School of Crafts.

    INTERESTS:

    Fundraising SUPPORT: grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising INTERFACE: organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Partnerships: seeking out community partners for collaboration (sharing space, hosting/conducting classes/demos/panels, new community members, etc)

    Education: instructor relationships, supporting education coordinator, thinking about other future staff roles

    Education: student focus, developing tracks for classes and certificate programs, virtual programs and resources

    Volunteer organization: helping bring in and organize volunteers for in the shop, for events, for social media/outreach

    Event organizing: support role (food, decor, cleaning/prep/take down).

    Woodworking/craft/powertool experience, ability to assist with open shop or tool upkeep (this is not a board responsibility, but board members could help with open shops in the future)

    DRAW TO FIREWEED

    I would love to see Fireweed have a larger reach and be able to connect with some similar organizations around the country!

    WOODWORKING EXPERIENCE

    have taken woodshop classes (at Women's Woodshop/Fireweed, other folk schools, shop classes in school, etc)

    traditional hand-craft (spoons, basketry, woodblock printing, shaving horses, etc)

    carpentry/handy-person vocational work

    powertools

    lathes (bowl turning etc)

    sculpture

    Other:

    furniture, boxes, joinery, hand tools

    BOARD EXPERIENCE:

    Has been on a board as a staff representative


    LIESL CHATMAN (any pronoun)

    Liesl believes that craft nucleates community and connection. She currently serves as the director of the IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, Leadership) center at the Science Museum of Minnesota. IDEAL is a  principle-based group that recognizes all of us as change agents and our relationships with each other as the most valuable resource for change. As a queer professional woman in science education, Liesl has a decades-long interest and work in gender equity and dismantling patriarchy.  Now as she nears retirement, she's thinking more about ableism, strength, mobility, eyesight, accommodations, and interdependence in conversations around inclusivity and access. Liesl is a spoon carver and kolroser and has taught both at Fireweed and North House Folk school. She dreams of a mycelium model for Fireweed—that our work will inspire and support other marginalized woodworkers, craftspeople and makers to create space within their own communities. 

    DRAW TO FIREWEED

    I have been an instructor and a fan.  As a queer professional woman in science education, I have a decades-long interest and work in gender equity and dismantling patriarchy.  As I get older (I'm almost 63) I'm also thinking a lot about ableism, strength, mobility, eyesight, accommodations, and interdependence.  I've been a greenwoodworker for about 10 years. As a board member, I feel I could really contribute to Fireweed, an organization that I believe in.

    INTERESTED IN

    Finance (creating a budget, accounting responsibilities, understanding the financial health and goals of the organization)

    Fundraising SUPPORT: grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising INTERFACE: organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Partnerships: seeking out community partners for collaboration (sharing space, hosting/conducting classes/demos/panels, new community members, etc)

    Education: instructor relationships, supporting education coordinator, thinking about other future staff roles

    Education: student focus, developing tracks for classes and certificate programs, virtual programs and resources

    Staff/HR: developing policies and helping develop processes around hiring (in general and for specific staff needs in the near future)

    Research: delving into ways other similar or connected organizations work, looking into cooperative models, etc.

    Event organizing: coordinating people, places and outreach for member events, holiday sales, volunteer events, craft hangs, etc (community building focus, could also tie into fundraising).

    Leadership in meetings or at events (do you like keeping folks on task?)

    Woodworking/craft/powertool experience, ability to assist with open shop or tool upkeep (this is not a board responsibility, but board members could help with open shops in the future)

    Instructor: are you interested in potentially instructing workshops or courses in the future, leading a craft hang, or gaining skills to do so?

    Other:   Organizational work in equity

    CHANGES/IDEAS

    I am open to many creative ideas—but one idea I have dreamed of for several years now is something like a Craeft Vardo.  A Vardo is a handmade trailer; I imagine one that is magical with handwork.  I see the side of it opening out into a stage like structure/work space. It could also the the back that opens up.   It could go from park to park, school to school, community to community setting up chopping blocks, knitting circles, birchbark weaving— the craft could be endless—and sharing craft and stories in circle. I think this might a very fundable idea and create a lot of community, bringing tools and equipment and people into communities and co creating what happens in this mobile space

    RELATIONSHIP TO CRAFT

    have taken woodshop classes (at Women's Woodshop/Fireweed, other folk schools, shop classes in school, etc)

    traditional hand-craft (spoons, basketry, woodblock printing, shaving horses, etc)

    Other: working with craft instructors on the craft of teaching

    BOARD EXPERIENCE

    Has been on multiple boards

    GWEN COMINGS (they/them)

    Gwen Comings is a Minneapolis based artist working mainly in sculpture. They also have an interest in woodworking and making functional objects, specifically bandsaw boxes and spoon carving.They received their BFA in Painting and Drawing from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2009 and their MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. While at UPenn they taught the introductory course Sculpture Practices and served as the Welding Lab Technician. This experience underlined the importance of inclusivity in shop environments and trans visibility in the arts. 

    They have previously been awarded the Jerome Emerging Printmakers Residency at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, MN and a residency and fellowship at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. After living in Philadelphia for six years, Gwen returned to the Twin Cities in the summer of 2021 and is eager to become involved in the art and maker communities here. Currently, they work as the Art and Art History Department Coordinator at Macalester College. 

    INTERESTED IN

    Finance

    Education

    Staff/HR

    Fabrication

    Marketing/social media outreach

    Research

    Event organizing: coordinating and support

    Leadership in meetings or at events

    Woodworking/craft/powertool experience, open shop

    Interested in becoming an instructor eventually

    CHANGES/IDEAS

    "I am interested in the possibility of expanding Fireweed's retail shop and using this avenue to expand scholarship support for both classes and membership. I am also interested in bringing in more visiting artists/craftspeople for demos and lectures and introducing more classes that support craftspeople's business skills. I think it could be exciting to establish some sort of presence at crafts fairs where Fireweed took care of the overhead cost and members sold their work. In general, I am very excited for the opportunity to brainstorm with other members of the board about future initiatives!"


    Vision for the shop: "As a trans nonbinary sculptor and craftsperson and someone who has experienced unwelcoming and discriminatory shop environments, I am personally dedicated to Fireweed's mission. Currently I work as the dept coordinator for Art and Art History at Macalester College. I have previously worked at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Tyler School of Art and Architecture (Philadelphia). I plan to use these local and national connections (and my personal passion for inclusivity in shop spaces) to spread the word about Fireweed and recruit instructors, students, visiting artists, and supporters. "


    KATIE REHANI (she/her) Bio and pic coming soon....

    INTERESTED IN

    Finance (creating a budget, accounting responsibilities, understanding the financial health and goals of the organization)

    Fundraising SUPPORT: grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising INTERFACE: organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Partnerships: seeking out community partners for collaboration (sharing space, hosting/conducting classes/demos/panels, new community members, etc)

    Education: instructor relationships, supporting education coordinator, thinking about other future staff roles

    Education: student focus, developing tracks for classes and certificate programs, virtual programs and resources

    Volunteer organization: helping bring in and organize volunteers for in the shop, for events, for social media/outreach

    Staff/HR: developing policies and helping develop processes around hiring (in general and for specific staff needs in the near future)

    Research: delving into ways other similar or connected organizations work, looking into cooperative models, etc.

    Event organizing: coordinating people, places and outreach for member events, holiday sales, volunteer events, craft hangs, etc (community building focus, could also tie into fundraising).

    Event organizing: support role (food, decor, cleaning/prep/take down).

    Leadership in meetings or at events (do you like keeping folks on task?)

    Other: In my work, I regularly review, edit, and contribute to grants, but have not fully written or led a grant process.

    CHANGES/IDEAS

    My experience is in youth development and I have seen the demand of craft and carpentry classes. I am interested in creating youth program opportunities that expand beyond a shop to schools and/or community organizations. There also seems to be a collaboration potential between Fireweed and youth employment that would be interesting to explore.

    EXPERIENCE TO CRAFT

    curious! no hands-on experience

    traditional hand-craft (spoons, basketry, woodblock printing, shaving horses, etc)

    Other: I have recently enjoyed learning how to refinish furniture. I would also add that for the above, my experience is informal. I have carved multiple spoons and have used a handful of power tools

    BOARD EXPERIENCE

    Currently a member of the Hennepin County Extension Committee.



  • 05 December 2021 12:52 PM | jess hirsch (Administrator)




    KAITLYN BOHLIN (she/her)

    Kaitlyn Bohlin is a fundraising professional with 15 years of experience in nonprofit administration. From program operations at a sustainable tourism organization in the Sacred Valley of Peru to volunteer management at Chicago's Adler Planetarium, she has touched nearly every aspect of the nonprofit field. She moved to the Twin Cities after working in fundraising at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, and currently serves as Development Director at the Loft Literary Center. Kaitlyn is passionate about lifelong learning, the power of creation and construction, and the importance of diversity and accessibility in craft communities. She loves connecting people to causes they care about, and would look forward to being an ambassador for Fireweed Community Woodshop. In her non non-profit life she loves to knit, quilt, and sew at her Longfellow home shared with her partner and their fat black cat.

    INTERESTED IN

    Finance

    Fundraising Support - grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising Interface- organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Partnerships: seeking out community partners for collaboration (sharing space, hosting/conducting classes/demos/panels, new community members, etc)

    Volunteer organization: helping bring in and organize volunteers for in the shop, for events, for social media/outreach

    Marketing/Social media outreach

    Event organizing: support role (food, decor, cleaning/prep/take down).

    Leadership in meetings or at events (do you like keeping folks on task?)

    EXPERIENCE TO CRAFT

    Traditional Hand Crafts

    BOARD EXPERIENCE

    Has been on a board


    STEVIE ADA KLARK (she/they)

    Stevie Ada Klaark is an artist, educator and writer.

    Klaark holds an MFA from Cornell University, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) and a Post Baccalaureate from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University. Their work has been featured in the Chicago Review | cover | , Bat City Review, Blue Mesa Review, Studio Visit Magazine, and on BOOOOOOOM!. Klaark has exhibited internationally at Biquini Wax EPS, Mexico City, Mexico; Hús Hákarla Jörundar, Hrísey, Iceland; and Milk Glass Co., Toronto, ON, Canada. She has been artist-in-residence at Norðanbál Gamli Skóli, Hrísey, Iceland; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT; Zen Mountain Monastery, Mt. Tremper, NY; and Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside, Troy, NY. They presently are an Adjunct Professor at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) and Minneapolis College (MCTC). Previously, they have been an Instructor at Cornell University, Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) in Ithaca, NY, and an Educator at Marwen in Chicago, IL.

    They are a Mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and  for Free Arts MN (a program of Big Brothers Big Sisters) — both being programs based out of Saint Paul, MN. She serves as a Mentor for Seedling, a program offered by Crown Affair which is based out of New York, NY. They have been a participant in The People’s Forum - School of Art, Culture and Resistance in New York, NY. She was born on occupied Apache and Navajo land. Klaark presently lives and works on occupied Dakhóta and Anishinaabe land in the Powderhorn neighborhood in Minneapolis, MN. Their practice is invested in the new future economy of care.

    INTERESTED IN

    Fundraising SUPPORT: grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising INTERFACE: organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Partnerships: seeking out community partners for collaboration (sharing space, hosting/conducting classes/demos/panels, new community members, etc

    Education: instructor relationships, supporting education coordinator, thinking about other future staff roles

    Education: student focus, developing tracks for classes and certificate programs, virtual programs and resources

    Staff/HR: developing policies and helping develop processes around hiring (in general and for specific staff needs in the near future)

    Research: delving into ways other similar or connected organizations work, looking into cooperative models, etc.

    Leadership in meetings or at events (do you like keeping folks on task?)

    CHANGES/IDEAS

    Fireweed is such an important part of the community and I would love to see there be a discussion around alternate economy models (i.e. what kinds of models can makers begin to use that move away from our current reliance on capitalism). I also would like to have the discussion around equity and repair continue to manifest in a multitude of ways. What kinds of new partnerships can be generated in the community? How do we continue to acknowledge and repair our relationship to the occupied lands we inhabit and repair/build our ties to Indigenous communities?

    EXPERIENCE TO CRAFT

    have taken woodshop classes (at Women's Woodshop/Fireweed, other folk schools, shop classes in school, etc

    carpentry/handy-person vocational work

    powertools

    sculpture

    BOARD EXPERIENCE

    Committee Member - Twin Cities Co-op Partners


    ROSE MANEY  (SHE/HER)

    Rose’s inspiration to run for the board of Fireweed Community Woodshop stems from the desire to increase both the visibility and reach of the organization and accessibility for those with disabilities. Currently working for AmeriCorps as a Virtual Education Initiative Leader, her speciality lies in creating and strengthening community connections. 

    A lifelong nature lover, Rose became a Master Naturalist in 2021 and contributed to a nature documentary about endangered oak savannas as part of her capstone project. She has taken classes in woodlot management and mushroom cultivation at Cornell Small Farms. As a member of the Minnesota Mycological Society, she received the Marek Turowski memorial scholarship and was sponsored to attend the annual national NAMA foray in Colorado.

    INTERESTED IN:

    Finance

    Fundraising Support - grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising Interface- organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Education: instructor relationships, supporting education coordinator, thinking about other future staff roles

    Education: student focus, developing tracks for classes and certificate programs, virtual programs and resources

    Marketing/Social media outreach

    Research: delving into ways other similar or connected organizations work, looking into cooperative models, etc.

    Event organizing: support role (food, decor, cleaning/prep/take down).

    Leadership in meetings or at events (do you like keeping folks on task?)

    CHANGES/IDEAS

    I'd love to see Fireweed take advantage of grants that are available to make spaces disability accessible when they move into their new space.

    EXPERIENCE TO CRAFT

    Have taken Woodshop classes

    BOARD EXPERIENCE

    Never on a board but president of LGBT Group in Highschool


    TRACY MUMFORD (she/her)

    Tracy Mumford is a podcast producer who came to Minneapolis "for a year," which then turned into ten. She has worked at different nonprofits across the Twin Cities, including College Possible, Milkweed Editions, Film North and Minnesota Public Radio. She consistently has seven craft projects going at once, sewing clothing, quilting, and printmaking. She has taken two classes with Fireweed, during which she made a toolbox that looks like a pigeon, and she's very proud of it.

    INTERESTED IN

    Fundraising support: grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising interface: organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Staff/HR: developing policies and helping develop processes around hiring (in general and for specific staff needs in the near future)

    Legal matters: assisting with review of policies and hiring procedures, or connections with legal resources.

    Marketing/Social media outreach

    Event organizing: coordinating people, places and outreach for member events, holiday sales, volunteer events, craft hangs, etc (community building focus, could also tie into fundraising).

    Event organizing: support role (food, decor, cleaning/prep/take down).

    Instructor: interested in potentially instructing workshops or courses in the future, leading a craft hang, or gaining skills to do so

    Committee interest — Finance (includes Fundraising. How to keep the shop operational with well-paid staff and instructors and affordable classes)

    Committee interest — Racial Equity (how to ensure that the shop is engaged in anti-racist work and supporting BIPOC communities in every area of the shop)

    CHANGES / IDEAS

    I'm eager to provide the muscle to other people's ideas and vision.

    I've seen a lot of nonprofits give into mission creep. They chase funding but then potentially lose sight of their original intent and goals. I would love to serve an organization that is pairing art with confidence building and practical career applications, and has stuck to that vision.

    EXPERIENCE TO CRAFT

    Have taken Woodshop classes

    BOARD EXPERIENCE

    Has not served on a board, but regularly handled and organized board meetings for previous organizations


    HANNAH NEPRASH (she/her)

    Hannah Neprash (she/her) is a professor of health economics by day (UMN School of Public Health) and power tool enthusiast by nights/weekends. She fell in love with woodworking almost a decade ago and with Fireweed (then Women's Woodshop) upon moving back home to Minnesota in 2017. Since then, she has taken a handful of craft/furniture making classes and enjoyed many an open shop night. Hannah hopes to contribute her numbers savvy, fundraising expertise, and grant-writing experience to building a financially sustainable Fireweed that is well-equipped to serve the needs of its community. When not writing/teaching/building, Hannah likes to grow vegetables, play fiddle, bake sweet treats, and trade giggles with her 8-month old kiddo. 

    INTERESTED IN 

    Finance (creating a budget, accounting responsibilities, understanding the financial health and goals of the organization)

    Fundraising support: grant writing, event planning

    Fundraising interface: organizing events and attending, developing relationships

    Education: instructor relationships, supporting education coordinator, thinking about other future staff roles

    Education: student focus, developing tracks for classes and certificate programs, virtual programs and resources

    Volunteer organization: helping bring in and organize volunteers for in the shop, for events, for social media/outreach

    Research: delving into ways other similar or connected organizations work, looking into cooperative models, etc.

    Woodworking/craft/powertool experience, ability to assist with open shop or tool upkeep (this is not a board responsibility, but board members could help with open shops in the future)

    CHANGES / IDEAS

    I would love to help Fireweed thrive financially through a combination of grants and philanthropic funding. I would also love to be involved in building out the fabrication program and thinking creatively about other community partnerships that might generate revenue for the shop.

    EXPERIENCE TO CRAFT

    Have taken Woodshop classes

    Powertools

    BOARD EXPERIENCE

    I have no formal experience on a board, but I believe that many of my professional experiences (e.g., team-teaching and serving on academic committees) have built collaboration and leadership skills that would translate well to the Fireweed setting.


  • 02 November 2021 7:13 PM | jess hirsch (Administrator)

    (The current board having fun post board retreat)

    We are on the hunt for some awesome human beings to join our board! Its our first time adding new members as our current cohort has been volunteering for the past 2 years! We are so pumped to grow the crew by adding 3-5 new members!

    What we are looking for:

    Fundraising Skills,  Racial Equity skills, Finance Skills, Marketing Skills

    That said you may have a skill that we didnt even know we needed. All are welcome to apply.

    How to apply:

    Fill out this form and we will contact you for a zoom or park walk to get to know you and answer all the questions you may have. Next steps would be putting together your information to have the community vote in the new members! We hope to have voting in December. 

    More info like term lengths etc is available in our Recruitment Packet!

  • 14 September 2021 7:35 AM | jess hirsch (Administrator)

    Fireweed has started on VIRTUAL classes again, and we are attracting to add some in-person classes!  With that in mind, we want to keep everyone as safe as possible.  Please read over our COVID POLICY below:

    COVID policy for indoor classes: 

    • everyone wears masks, regardless of vaccination status
    • students must be vaccinated OR have received negative COVID test results within 72 hours of class. 

    COVID policy for outdoor classes:

    • masking requests will be communicated by the instructor of that course and according to their needs
    • students must be vaccinated OR have received negative COVID test results within 72 hours of class. 

    If you are unable to come to class you are registered for because you are unwell/showing symptoms, get in touch and we'll work something out together.

    *if you have any questions or clarifications, let me know :)     fireweedwoodshop@gmail.com


  • 25 June 2021 7:36 AM | jess hirsch (Administrator)

    Fireweed is pausing on classes this summer to make a start on our little library of FREE video tutorials.  We are hoping to grow it as time progresses.  What kind of content?  It is all centered around woodworking of course!  We are going to start with a set of four videos released by next year.  We have plans for three of them, but we would also like some feedback from you - our community!  Head over to our Instagram (@fireweedwoodshop) to share your ideas with us.  We will take a vote in the next few months.  

    We are also using this time to partner St Paul Public Parks to offer spoon carving classes for the BIPOC community.  It's been a wonderful expansion and we are super pumped!


  • 30 November 2020 7:43 AM | jess hirsch (Administrator)

    Hello folks! It’s Nia here with an exciting announcement. WE ARE CHANGING OUR NAME! But before we get to that, I’d like to spend some time on the why and how of our renaming.

    Women’s Woodshop was born in the aftermath of the 2016 election. On the day that the website went live, 45 was sworn into office and the Women’s March was about to make history. It’s estimated that somewhere between 3 and 5.5 million folks marched in different cities across the United States. Women’s Woodshop started here in Minneapolis with a birch bark weaving class taught by the legendary Birch Bark Beth. Our grand opening went viral and the space was packed shoulder to shoulder despite having very few tools. The shop slowly filled up with tools and students. We experimented with many models while always centering on putting tools into the hands of women and non-binary makers. We had a residency program, a very short lived artist talk series (Thank you Mara), holiday sales, our entrepreneur program offering space to others wanting to workshop their workshop (donation based), and we even skateboarded after hours. But Women’s Woodshop would not exist without our founder, Jess Hirsch, a name and face that is sure to be familiar if you’ve hung out much at the shop.

    Jess is an artist and a woodworker and at time of the shop’s conception she’d spent the last fifteen years of her woodworking career navigating spaces that were mostly male. Sometimes she’d have tools taken out of her hands by other students in a class and was definitely on the receiving end of harassment at big box stores and lumber yards.

    Women’s Woodshop was created as a space in which folks didn't have to contort or conform or make themselves smaller or bigger to fit into. It was created as a space in which we could learn and exist with a sense of belonging. I think the name Women’s Woodshop is emblematic of the time in which the shop was born. Women’s Woodshop was an act of resistance. The name was almost oxymoronic. Women and woodshop were not words we often saw side-by-side.

    Despite the name, the shop has never been and was never meant to be exclusively for women. Over the last couple years the majority of our classes have been intended for women and non-binary folks. We’ve had all gender classes too. The shop is a space for folks who have historically existed on the margins of woodworking spaces due the identities that they hold and for folks that have never felt welcomed into a woodshop despite their identity.

    This name change has been a long time coming. We are aware that the word Women in our name has in some ways detracted from our mission. Not all of our community feels that they belong to that word, or that word belongs to them. We started brainstorming on the name change about a year ago, a task that proved more difficult than I initially anticipated. We were searching not only for a name that speaks for us, but a name that speaks to us. The process forced us to assess who we are and what we are here for.

    In late February, right before the world got different, we settled on a name—Fireweed Community Woodshop.

    Fireweed is a wildflower native to Minnesota. Throughout central and northern Minnesota you are sure to find it in bloom in the summer. Once you know it, you know it. You’ll see it running along roadsides or on the outskirts of wooden areas or sprawling across grasslands— bright pinkish, purple flowers growing up the stem of the plant. Fireweed gets its name from its status as a pioneer species. After a wildfire it is one of the first things to grow. A single plant can produce over 80,000 seeds in a year and its seeds are fluffy and can ride far and wide with the wind. Fireweed begins the process of nurturing depleted soil back to health, starting the chain of ecological regeneration.

    We settled on the name Fireweed and then a pandemic happened. Facing rent payments and the reality of not being able to hold classes for the foreseeable future, we decided to leave our physical shop space on Standish Avenue. I think anyone who’d ever spent time in that space (and especially anyone who's ever made it to a busy open shop) knows that although it had it’s charm, we’d grown out of our starter spot. There were some tears, but instead of resisting change, we let it happen. Leaving the shop space never meant leaving behind the mission. We pivoted with the pandemic. We went virtual with the classes that we could and canceled and refunded the ones that we couldn't. We took this rent-free downtime as time for future planning. Our transition board voted on restructuring from an LLC (which I’ve often jokingly called our not-profit model) to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

    On May 25th, George Floyd was murdered by a member of the Minneapolis Police Department. This tragedy brought the racial injustice and trauma that has long existed in our city and around our country to the forefront. After taking time to process, we as a group made a commitment to reappropriating and sharing resources that this work gives us access to. We’ve written a racial equity committee into our bylaws to ensure BIPOC liberation as a core value within our organization. This core value is also intimately intertwined with how we proceed as a nonprofit. Organizing ourselves as a 501(c)(3) is a beneficial legal structure to exist within, but we recognize the flaws within the nonprofit model as it’s typically understood. Fireweed Community Woodshop is guided by the principle of mutual aid. I often look to the words of the quaker abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier in understanding how mutual aid works— I lift you, and you lift me, and we’ll both ascend together. As we continue to grow, this principle will guide our practice. We are committed to transparency, an open and welcoming exchange of resources and ideas, and self-determination of our organization based on the needs and desires of our community.

    Women’s Woodshop is what we were and Fireweed Community Woodshop is what we are now, but this becoming is a process. Over the next few months we will be transitioning our website and social media accounts to reflect this name change but also the organizational shifts that we’ve been working on behind the scenes.

    Over the last ten months, the imagery of fireweed has loomed clear in my mind. I’ve found the fireweed a grounding symbol in this time of uncertainty and reconstruction. After a fire, after all the heat energy and destruction and breakdown of a burn, fireweed grows. Fireweed is a symbol of new life, it represents a new way of being. This is some symbolism I’d like to see manifested in Fireweed Community Woodshop for many years to come.


  • 01 July 2020 7:52 AM | jess hirsch (Administrator)

    In light of the Covid-19 situation, Women'sWoodshop is expanding its offerings in the form of online fun. Our first offering is a free daily coloring sheet for kids that are stuck at home and adults that are bored too. Learn tool names and keep your hands busy for the time being. More soon!

    COLORING SHEETS

    Hand Tools, illustrated by Jess Hirsch: handtools-part1.pdf

    Wood Block Printing Tools, Illustrated by Liz Walker : Printmaking.pdf

    Hand Tools part 2,  illustrated by Jess Hirsch: HANDTOOLSPART2.pdf

    Pliers, Illustrated by Jess Hirsch: pliers.pdf


  • 03 June 2020 7:37 AM | jess hirsch (Administrator)

    Dear Ones,

    BLACK LIVES MATTER. Unequivocally Black lives matter.  We mourn the death of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and so many others that were murdered by the police. The shop actively believes in dismantling white supremacy and supporting the BIPOC community, in particular Black lives right now.

    We know you haven’t heard from us in a minute because we have paused to focus on the Minneapolis and St. Paul community in real life, not the digital realm. We are slowly coming back together to keep working on our new structure as non-profit and making sure we build anti-racism actions into our very foundation so we can address the vast inequities in the woodworking world. We hope you too are looking at your role in white privilege and how to deconstruct the injustices woven into this country’s framework too.

    We do intend to offer classes again but there is a lot of work to do behind the scenes and there is still a pandemic and unfortunately touching and sharing tools is a big part of our classroom. Please be patient with us and support organizations that are changing the world for the better right now.

    Black Visions Collective

    Black Women Build

    Crafting the Future

    Black Lives Matter



  • 02 April 2020 7:39 AM | jess hirsch (Administrator)

    Dear Students, fans, friends, and family,

    We have big news to share...we’re changing gears and going mobile!!! Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we made the challenging decision to leave our current location and offer a smaller array of classes while focusing on developing a better community woodshop after this thing passes. 

    As many of you know, our little storefront on 38th street has always been considered our starter home. It's a charming space, but over the past 3 years we have outgrown the physical space and the electrical limits (if you have been in a power tools class, you have experienced us blowing the breakers!) We need more space and more power to keep supporting the community and expanding as y’all have shown up in droves and our instructors keep proposing more awesome classes.

    As the shop navigates the current situation with Covid-19, we have faced some obstacles and been given the gift of seeing our blindspots. Financially, we have depended on our in person classes to pay rent, pay instructors, and keep the lights on. It’s always been a makeshift diy space doing it month to month. We have been hit hard by the crisis and have spent some time reflecting on what actions make the most sense. 

    The month of April we will be moving into storage and simplifying our course offerings until we can find a better home. We see this time as a “wildfire” ferociously taking down broken models and systems, but leaving fertile soil for the future. Instead of trying to resist, we are going to let this one take us and turn us into that soil that we can emerge stronger and brighter for the long haul.

    We have been building an incredible non-profit board of brilliant minds and will be spending the next few months focusing on regrowth. More to come soon once we are done moving! Stay tuned.

    If you are currently signed up for classes we will be in touch about a pop-up location to host or a cancellation with full refunds. Our small summer offerings will go live once we find a host. If you know a host that could share space during this limbo phase, please reach out:)

    If you want to purchase wood, tools, workbenches, we will be posting things we are not able to keep on our instagram and will be offering contactless pick up after the Stay Home mandate expires...if it expires. 

    Thank you for all your love, support, and hunger for woodworking!

    More soon,

    Jess & the crew



  • 16 March 2020 7:41 AM | jess hirsch (Administrator)


    WE ARE TEMPORARILY CLOSING! Due to the pandemic we believe it is our social responsibility to flatten the curve and advocate for social distancing. We are postponing our classes as the news comes out. If you have courses scheduled we will be emailing you about rescheduling opportunities and refunds. Its a bit of a dance to re-arrange all the classes so please be patient as we work through the upcoming classes for this week. We will most likely be rescheduling all classes through April 10th, but have to do it in batches. Thank you for your patience.



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fireweedwoodshop@gmail.com


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