In this episode, Peter talks with Norman Pirollo.
Norman is the editor of WOODSKILLS magazine, an online woodworking instructor, and author. In a previous life, he was a C++ developer for some of the largest computer companies in the world. He decided to turn his life around and dedicate himself to CAD Design, prototyping and creating contemporary furniture at his company, Pirollo Design.
Norman writes and publishes woodworking courseware on his website, and also teaches woodworking in the traditional “in-person” way.
He has authored and published four books:
- The Wood Artist: Creating Art Through Wood
- Start Your Own Woodworking Business
- From Hi-Tech to Lo-Tech: A Woodworker’s Journey
- and Abstracted: An Artist’s Journey (on Amazon and Google Books).
Most recently, Norman published WOODSKILLS, a bi-annual magazine about fine woodworking.
Stemiverse podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to techexplorations.com to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and electronics.
- [0:00:00] Introduction – Introducing Norman Pirollo
- [0:01:51] Greetings
- [0:03:38] Norman talks about his background in electrotechnology and later in computer software and computer science
- [0:09:03] Norman’s book: From Hi-Tech to Lo-Tech: A Woodworker’s Journey
- [0:09:23] The transition from high-tech to low-tech
- [0:14:05] Norman’s transition from an apprentice woodworker to a wood artist
- [0:17:04] About maquettes (scale models)
- [0:18:15] Norman’s entry into the art world happened thanks to a touring craft exhibition in 2009
- [0:20:07] Generalized lessons from Norman’s experience of transitioning from the corporate to the woodworker’s world
- [0:24:50] Instructional learning
- [0:27:16] Cleveland Institute of Electronics
- [0:28:52] How Norman manages his time while being a woodworker an artist and a teacher
- [0:30:15] The appeal of woodworking vs. DIY electronics and its current resurgence
- [0:32:50] The story of how Peter came across Norman’s work due to a custom wooden enclosure
- [0:36:06] Norman’s choice of tools: Google SketchUp, video editing software, and more.
- [0:37:44] Lifelong learning as a maker
- [0:39:16] Norman’s advice to makers interested in woodworking but without access to a dedicated space/workshop
- [0:41:13] The movement towards traditional woodworking that does not involve machinery but hand tools, e.g., The Unplugged Woodshop
- [0:45:08] Norman’s courses: Woodworking Course – Hand Tools Course
- [0:47:31] The youngest age one can begin a woodworking apprenticeship and the benefits of hands-on training
- [0:53:37] The industrialization of furniture making vs. the resurgence of the artistic approach
- [0:55:13] Rapid Fire Questions
- [1:07:14] Norman’s Contact Information:
- Additional resources: Website (in Russian) about James Krenov (videos in US English included, describing the man and his philosophy). According to Norman, Krenov “is widely recognized as one of the best craftsmen of the 20th century and was instrumental in a return to traditional woodworking with emphasis on quality and originality.”