Writer and boatbuilder Douglas Brooks, right, will speak at the College of the Atlantic's Human Ecology Forum Oct. 23. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Boatbuilder to discuss Japanese craft education

BAR HARBOR — Writer and boatbuilder Douglas Brooks will discuss what he learned in three decades apprenticing with traditional Japanese boatbuilders Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 4:10 p.m. at the College of the Atlantic’s McCormick Lecture Hall.

Brooks has apprenticed with seven boat builders in Japan since 1996, building more than a dozen types of traditional boats. In this slide talk he shares his experiences with traditional crafts drawn from 22 trips to Japan since 1990. Brooks’ research in Japan focuses on the techniques and design secrets of the craft.

Brooks will also talk about the nature of craft education in Japan; an ethic that is largely at odds with our notions of teaching in the West. The apprentice system produces craftspeople with incomparable skills, yet it requires an intense devotion and seriousness from participants. At the core of this process is the belief that one learns by observation and perseverance.

He teaches classes in boatbuilding and has written regularly for magazines including Wooden Boat, Classic Boat and KAZI (Japan). In 2014 he was awarded the American Craft Council’s Rare Craft Fellowship Award. He lives with his wife Catherine in Vergennes, Vermont.

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