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Turning Around America

beth ireland

Beth Ireland at the Health Learning Academy

What would you say about a person who decides to travel around the U.S. for a year and teach woodturning to anyone and everyone who was interested? Could you live out of a van which also served as your workshop? Could you sleep in said van in rest areas and driveways?

One person is doing this. Beth Ireland is a woodturner, artist and educator from New England and has been travelling the country in her modified van teaching woodturning where ever she goes. From October, 2010 to February, 2011 Beth has travelled 10,000 miles and taught woodturning to 1,500 people. She has visited public and private schools, community clubs, Boys & Girls Clubs, woodturning clubs and individuals.

On her Turning Around America website she states the goal of her project:

Empower people through the simple act of making an object in wood.

Looking at the website you will be able to see all the places she has been, pictures of the people she has met and taught and watch videos she has made.

But the real story is in her blog. Her experience living in a van, sleeping at rest areas, learning to live with less, spending lots of time alone. I found it a captivating and entertaining story of someone with a mission that is also her passion.

One of my favorite posts was from Februay 16th. She talks about how she felt like a Johnny Appleseed type character. Planting little seeds of woodturning all over the country and watching a new crop of Woodturners grow. She wrote of her experience at Safe Harbor in Florida teaching kids who were at risk who now had adults that were interested in them, how the skills they learned had already changed their lives.

Check out Beth’s website and blog and see if it doesn’t put a smile on your face.

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