She’s been teaching woodwork to women from a shed next to her home in Mullumbimby since 1998.
But Patt Gregory is now set to inspire a whole lot more women to throw back their shoulders, step into the shed, pick up a saw and have a go.
For the past four years Patt has been working on a book and DVD to help women at home with carpentry projects, but it was a chance meeting with someone she had met nine years previously at the Wood Show in Brisbane that now has her poised to teach and inspire women all over Australia.
Stan Ceglinski is a man who knows everything about wood, but besides running a business at Billinudgel, he is the person who has been running the Wood Show for the past 20 years.
“It’s time women were represented properly. Would you be interested?” Stan asked Patt when they ran into each other again.
Patt had previously observed Stan at the show, admired his style, how he had the ability to change people’s lives, inspiring many who had never picked up a tool in their lives to have a go.
“He’s a real showman,” said Patt, “someone capable of telling yarn after yarn, one of our real legends.”
Stan made some phone calls and in no time it was all sorted, and Patt is off to Brisbane in May for four days at the Wood Show, with $4000 worth of tools lent by a company called Carbatec that includes a work bench which would allow her to demonstrate her skills and also let people have a go.
It will be a unique look for the show, for although women have always been there promoting tools, it will be the first time a practising female woodworker is on the microphone at her own stand.
“My focus will be to encourage women to have a go,” Patt said.
“The message is, look at me, I’m five foot nothing, an older woman, and I can do it – you can start at any age, it just doesn’t matter.”
And Stan is very happy to have Patt participating in the show, to give it a fresh new attraction that will help keep the tradition alive.
“It will give women who come with their husband some other way of relating to the show,” said Patt.
“I want to reach the people who think ‘maybe I could do that’.”
Patt will also be promoting her instructional book and DVD, a kit that takes women through the steps of a first woodworking project in a holistic way, paying attention for example to a relaxed holding of the body and a willingness to ignore the phone and the washing, and to aspire to excellence rather than perfection.
If the Brisbane experiment proves successful, Patt will go on to shows in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra in 2010.
“This is panning out like I didn’t expect,” said Patt.
“It has gone from imagining I’d be promoting my book to CWA ladies in the outback to this.”
The Timber and Working with Wood Show takes place in Brisbane from May 21 to 23.
Patt’s website for anyone wanting further information is www.woodworkforwomen.com
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