Talk about an epic collaboration! Two such congruent companies coming together for a night full of craftsmanship, creativity and passionate energy. Grain Surfboards and the crew at Patagonia Bowery teamed up for a hand plane building workshop this past May! Grain Surfboards, based out of York, Maine, are an extraordinary team of builders paving their own paths, and helping others hand-create the boards of their dreams from scratch. They hold workshops using traditional woodworking techniques shaping surfboards, paipos, and hand planes galore out of local softwoods. And this spring, a team from Grain hit the road and brought their talents, sustainable practices, and enthusiastic teaching across the country. As part of the Right Coast Road Trip tour, crew members, Nolan Collins and Matt Entwistle left their mark as they trekked North up the Atlantic shore in Grain’s mobile classroom - follow along with their stories here.
Towards the end of their tour, the fellas made a hugely successful last stop at Patagonia's Bowery shop in New York City. Held in the basement of the Manhattan storefront, both Nolan and Matt truly brought the room to life. With a full class, we unfortunately weren't able to participate but the guys gave us the go ahead to stop by, photograph the night, and chat with the participants.
There was a resonating buzz about the room, with nearly twenty people sanding down their hand planes, carving back and forth to achieve their desired shape. The floor was covered in a good inch or so of carvings, surrounding the main work station like a tiny atoll. It was very interesting to see the different approaches everyone took in shaping their planes. Catching up with a few of the participants, we heard some were brand new to this and had no experience using (let alone making) hand planes, whereas others had made lots in their lifetimes.
As the retail shop upstairs closed down for the evening, a group of Patagonia Bowery’s staff joined in and came to observe and mingle with the class. The energy was electric as everyone was there for a common goal: to make something each individual could call their own. And although everyone was there to make their own creation, a true sense of community and engagement was alive and booming. Amidst Nolan and Matt’s attentive instruction and guidance, neighboring strangers provided each other helpful tips throughout the entire session. This sense of community coming together to produce and celebrate quality pieces is very reflective of what I think both Grain and Patagonia represent (and strive for) as companies.
If you haven’t yet made it into the Patagonia Bowery shop, definitely do and scope out the boards, clothing and goods they’ve got going on this summer and beyond! Tee and the entire staff are extremely knowledgeable and really down to earth people that know their stuff. And if you haven’t made it up to Maine to visit the Grain folks, definitely make it priority register for one of their workshops, or even just to poke in and say hey on your next adventure up to Portland, Acadia or Baxter. If you don’t find yourself making your way up to the North Woods anytime soon, follow their mobile classroom’s calendar to see if they’re making a trip close to you in the near future or follow along their adventure on Instagram!