Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition


Profiles in Woodworking: Mike Grodem


Mike Grodem is one of our Foundations of Woodworking scholarship students. Here’s what Mike had to say about what led him to PTSW, his experience so far, and thoughts about the future:

I've pursued a selection of media, including ceramics, painting, glassblowing, and photography, but I've decided to dedicate myself to woodworking because of our species' rich heritage with the medium, and because I appreciate the collaborative aspect of working with a dynamic material like wood.

I had been pursuing woodworking independently for about a year when I decided to come to PTSW. I wanted to devote more time to the discipline and accelerate my progress. PTSW gives its students a tremendous skill-set to work with, and I've already laid out plans to revisit when I finish the course. Knowing how to design accurately and thoughtfully, combined with practiced bench technique, gives students the ability to build anywhere with just their chest of tools. Through understanding the predispositions of the specific piece at hand, one can work with a modest toolkit and still compose well-made forms.

Once my course here has ended, I'd like to visit different ecovillages around the country, working with close-grown material, and practice my craft by making useful things for the people around me. I'm planning on continuing my woodworking training in the years to come, and will likely be back in Port Townsend before too long.

You can follow Mike’s work on Instagram @mikegrodem.