To Understand a Tree: An Experiential Workshop with Gina Siepel

July 20, 2024, Museum for Art in Wood and Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia PA

Join us for an exploratory, hands-on workshop, where we will explore connections between the forest, the tree, and the material of wood. Led by artist Gina Siepel, in collaboration with a naturalist from the Schuylkill Center, we will undertake a guided exploration of the forest. During this workshop, we’ll practice tree identification using field guides and online tools, and we’ll have an overview of the anatomy and physiology of trees. We will also take the opportunity to study the material in depth, splitting logs and other found materials and exploring the life of the tree through an examination of the wood itself.

May 26 - 31, 2024, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg TN

This workshop will be an interdisciplinary and playful exploration of the relationship between green woodworking, forest ecology, and the human body. Green woodworking centers the use of simple hand tools and provides an in-depth experience of wood as a plant material. We will work holistically, connecting woodworking techniques with supportive physical practices, and understanding the material of wood as a part of the forest habitat in which it grows. Class sessions will include green woodworking, walks in the local forests, field observation, discussion, and study of the physiological aspects of chair and stool design. Students will learn fundamentals of green wood construction as well as introductory dendrology (the study of trees), and leave the class with a completed greenwood stool. Students of all experience levels are welcome to join us in this ecologically-engaged woodworking experience.


Marlboro Studio School, Marlboro VT

FOREST/BODY/CHAIR links the practice of greenwood chairmaking to forest ecology, climate change, human embodiment, and interspecies relationships. The workshop is centered on the process of constructing a simple greenwood chair, beginning with a log and working with hand tools. This process happens in conjunction with exploration and study of the forests of the Marlboro campus, and a focus on chair design and construction for the human body. We will integrate an exploration of natural history, embodiment, and dendrology with the practice of woodworking, in consideration of the life of the tree as an integral part of the woodworking process.