My name is Harrelson Stanley. I lived in Japan for 12 years and apprenticed in traditional lacquering for 9 years. We have built a school in Pepperell, MA to host Japanese crafts people to teach their crafts here in Massachusetts. We have sponsored many seminars in the past eight years. We had a master hand plane maker come over and teach his craft for a week. Eleven participants came from all over the US to take part and make a plane. It was a wonderful exchange between our two cultures. Our program is growing and we have a long term mission.
Our mission is to teach traditional Japanese crafts here in America. My dream has been to build a facility to host Japanese crafts people for varying lengths of time to teach their crafts here so that they can be carried on much in the way martial arts have gained a strong foot hold in the west. I studied for 12 years in Japan and spent much of that time learning the Japanese language. Language study is certainly a wonderful calling but, it is not going to get any physical work done. We need a place to learn techniques and focus without spending too much time on language. My teacher, Kuroda Kenkichi charged me with a responsibility to pass on his teachings in America. Kurodasan is no longer with us but, I think of him and his teaching everyday.
Our immediate goal is to continue offering short courses and advance the construction of our facility. Our longer term goal is the institution of a full time study program.
We want to offer an apprenticeship here at Shizutani school where I will teach the teachings of Kurodasan and my other teacher Niikura Mineo who is very much alive. This apprenticeship will be the first full time student position at Shizutani school. My first concern is that this student feel that they are getting enough attention in return for the time he or she is giving to be here. We are trying to build a foundation that will support a larger number of students around the world.
I think anyone that has been watching our progress for the last 3 or 4 years will have a good idea of what we are trying to accomplish. Whoever this first full time apprentice turns out to be, they should be concerned with learning to work with their mind and hands for a larger purpose.
We have out buildings to build, traditional frames to cut, shoji doors to make, forges to build, floors and ceilings to design and build, a raft of furniture is needed, drawing, planing, constructing and it all needs to be done with sharp tools and sharp minds.
We have a wonderful array of hand tools and machines. More importantly we have a great supply of really awsome materials. We are building, with the soul of the tree in our hearts.