Preview: A Second Life

It’s not often that any of us get to have a second life, doing something we love that is totally different than our lifelong profession. OCH member Gerald Shapiro (“Shep”) was a composer and a professor of music at Brown University.

Meanwhile, he quietly built over a dozen boats for himself and others.

In his retirement, he decided to teach a slightly different course at Brown — How to Build a Wooden Boat. Along with a finished boat, a video came from the course, filmed by one of the students who had a knack for storytelling and filmmaking. We have been struck by how easily these young first-time builders articulate the deeper discoveries available in the process of building a wooden boat. Some damn good involved teaching no doubt.

If you enjoyed this video, you’ll be glad to hear that we’re part way through filming a video with Shep and his friend Jonathan Movson about their building of a Haven 12 1/2 of their own. Here are a couple photos they sent us recently just before the launching.

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7 Responses So Far to “A Second Life

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    Bruce Sinclair says:

    Choosing to build a pea pod, a boat with such a deep history, was just the first smart thing these people did.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    The grammar school I went to for 4-8th grade has always had Shop class and they’ve built boats also. It was how my interest in woodworking and boat building was substantially established. They’ve invested in a very impressive shop curriculum and layout, too:

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    scott garven says:

    So delightful to hear what the students comments are. As a teacher that is what you are trying to achieve. The students are learning much more than just building a boat. The life skills will stay with them forever.

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    Dan Yuhas says:

    These classmates have discovered what many of us who have built boats believe we already know. It reminds us why we are driven to that experience again and again. Never have I heard it so eloquently expressed. Most of us are tools-and-wood people, not so much “words” people.
    Thank you!

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    Doug Bullock says:

    That sure is a nice looking row boat. What is the name of it and are the plans available somewhere – Thanks Doug

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    Trisha McElroy says:

    Wonderful to see some of the old traditions being taught. Mystic Seaport Museum, IYRS, Herreshoff Museum all have programs but it is good to see Brown offering this to students who would normally never be exposed. They all got a lot more out of it than I think they thought they would. Team work, making mistakes and fixing them and enjoyed watching them figure it out!! Thank you!