This past Friday (August 31, 2007) my daughter, (our Canadian Film Crew, / chauffeur) “volunteered” to drive me to Toronto for a personal tour of Ted & Norah’s new location for their Roarockit business and skateboard school. The first part of the interview is found here
First of all, I have to say that the travel gods were with us as the trip took us less than two hours, with no traffic jams. Wow. Anyone who has driven to Toronto knows that this is not a common occurrence.
Anyway, we found the location without any difficulties and were quickly greeted by smiling faces. After quick introductions, Jenn and I received a tour of the building – starting with their classroom and the stairs that were being built for their basement workspace. As with most things the stairs are more than function—they are art, as they are built out of handmade skateboard decks! (Since this is a piece of art in the making I didn’t take a photo of it. Perhaps Ted can share that with us in a blog some time :) )
Downstairs is located their Thin Air Press work area, where orders are packaged and prepared for shipping. I found it interesting that the stack of packaging even looked like a piece of artwork!
Ted and Norah talked a little bit about the business and Ted showed us his portfolio of sculptures. One of his pieces, which we got to see one component of, is permanently on display at a museum in Philadelphia. I have to apologize and say that I don’t remember the name of the museum.
We then got right into using the Thin Air Press
(I’m not sure what I’m doing in this photo. It looks like I’m going to do some yoga moves or something) .. but, I’m ready to begin.
First, we glued the sheets of Canadian Hard Maple veneer together. (This veneer is also available through their website). The veneer for the skateboard kit is pre-cut and ready to go.
Then the breather netting is slipped over the styrofoam mold and the layers of veneer….
and then the air is simply pumped out, using the easy to use hand-pump. It only took a minute. Very easy and fun to watch as the wood formed itself around the mold.
.. when the air was out.. all that was left was to wait for the glue to dry.
Jenn and I received lots of tips regarding veneering …
After the veneering lesson was complete, we had a fascinating discussion about teaching youth skills such as woodworking, problem-solving, and resiliency. It was especially interesting as we had a preschool teacher (myself), a high school teacher (my daughter) and a college/university professor (Ted) sharing the same insights and experiences, just from different age levels.
The possibilities to support our youth, to provide learning opportunities to those who have never tried woodworking, and to give back to the community are endless. As we discussed the different programs using the Thin Air Press, it was clear that Ted and Norah are definitely doing their bit at making a difference!
Our conversation continued on over lunch, a surprise meal provided by Ted and Norah, and then it was time to go, ... but first, one final picture in front of their new school.
I’d like to thank Ted and Norah for all that they are doing for the youth of today, for their easy-to-use veneering kit, and for the wonderful day we shared with them.
(Photos taken by Jenn Dietrich, Canadian Film Crew)
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (http://www.execulink.com/~yohan)