Chase ’21 is a biology major from Knott County, Ky., in the heart of Appalachia. He grew up in a crafting family, his father a woodworker, his mother a quilter.
“I’ve always been interested in working with my hands because that’s what we’ve always done,” Chase said. “It’s a fun time to make things. It’s reminiscent of home.”
Chase makes “a little bit of everything” in the woodworking department of Student Craft, from clipboards to rolling pins, but his favorite is the Forest Stool. Made with ash wood from the Berea College Forest, each Forest Stool is handmade from log to finished product, a process that takes weeks to complete. Chase prefers working by hand rather than using the machines in the woodshop.
“It’s more involved,” he said. “You’ll get an arm workout for sure. We have to use a lot more hand tools, splitting them out from the logs, shaving them down. And then we have to dry them. Each Forest Stool is unique because you’re putting your own handiwork into it. It really fills your heart to make something you’re proud of.”
Chase has done woodworking as his labor assignment all four years in college, even over the summers. The future pharmacist enjoys the work as a break from classes.
“It’s nice to go from the stress of classes and just be able to focus on something entirely different—just making things, enjoying working in the woodshop, having friends and good company.”