A little over a year ago, I spent the weekend in the little town of Almonte, Ontario, which is just outside of Ottawa. I was attending a furniture conference hosted by the Rosewood Studio. The founder of the school, Ted Brown, had gathered 10 influential woodworkers to give presentations. It was an opportunity for me and a few hundred other woodworkers to meet and talk with legends including Michael Fortune, Brian Boggs, Don Weber and others. It was a great gathering in a wonderful place. Most of the woodworkers I talked to had taken classes at Rosewood and all of them had high praise for the school and the staff.
Rosewood Studio was founded in 2001 by Brown, a student of James Krenov and graduate of the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking program. Classes were offered by staff instructors as well as visiting teachers. We ran a story on the school in our August 2004 issue, and you can read the online version of that article by clicking below.
Yesterday, we heard that the school had shut its doors, and I just received an e-mail from Ted Brown confirming that. According to him, recent changes in the valuation of the Canadian and United States dollars, combined with new regulations for traveling from the United States to Canada, led to a serious reduction in the number of American students at the Canadian school.
In his message to me, Ted wrote, “In the end, we simply could not make enough money to cover our costs, and a great school had to shut its doors. The best thing about the whole experience was the wonderful people that passed through our doors, making our lives interesting. It was a great ride for our group, I hope we are remembered as having done a good job.”
It is sad to see a fellow woodworker lose what they have worked for, and we wish Ted and his staff the best as they carry on. We remember them as having done a very good job indeed.
The lesson for the rest of us is that the resources we think will always be available may not be. If there is an opportunity to take a class and you’re on the fence about it, keep in mind that things may change. My memory of Rosewood Studio is a fond one, and my regret is that I didn’t make a return trip.
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I only had the opportunity to take the Craftsman 1A, and had hoped to take the next in the series this summer. This is a true tragedy for the craft of fine woodworking in Canada. I echo the sentiments above by saying this was a unique school which will be sorely missed; and I wish I had the opportunity to take more courses from Ted and Ron.
Just finished a six week intensive with Ted, Adam, and Ron as teachers. They are excellent woodworkers and willing to share their expertise and craft. There is alwasy a standard reference from which we built great furniture, the Rosewood staff (Mary ann and Keith, and Karen too) set that standard and helped many of us on our journey towards excellence. Thanks for the memories!
I was heartbroken when I learned that Rosewood had shut its doors. What a great school that Ted and his staff established. I took a few courses and now regret not taking more. I agree with Robert Lang; things may change so do what you can when you can.
I did not get a chance to attend – my hope was to travel from here in northern Alberta to Ottawa someday to "slow down" and experience my hobby at a higher level. A sad day indeed!
I agree Rosewood was an excellent school. My only regret is that I was not able to take more classes.
I hope Ted can regroup somehow because I think he offered a unique service here in Canada.
What a sad day. So disappointing to lose this great school. Hopefully, Ted and his staff will find other ways to pass on the woodworking tradition. There are too few opportunities (especially here in Canada) to learn the craft.