In December 2019, the Timber Framers Guild purchased the Heartwood School (established in 1978) from Will and Michele Beemer. Through their many long years of stewardship, the Beemers created an institution in the timber framing community. Dedicated to craft and to excellence in teaching the building arts, they brought their skill, intelligence, generosity of spirit, and a commitment to improving the quality of the built environment and people's lives, sharing it with Heartwood students young and old, men and women, from all walks of life.
Over four decades, Heartwood has taught thousands of students about timber framing and other building arts, leaving an indelible mark not only on the students but on timber framing as well. Over the same years, the Beemers have played a seminal role in the establishment and success of the Timber Framers Guild and the revival of timber framing in North America, thereby touching the lives of thousands of people in our extended community.
The Guild has been entrusted by the Beemers with the continuation of their life's work and legacy. The Guild is committed to robust, student-centered education and training in the inspiring, forested environment of the Heartwood School - a personality in its own right. Executive Director Neil Godden and the Heartwood team have developed course offerings that will build excellence in craft, all taught by masters, including Jack Sobon, Patrick Moore, and many others. Whether an experienced builder wishing to expand their skills and deepen their understanding and design and construction someone just starting in their pursuit of these skills, Heartwood offers the depth and breadth of classes to meet students' needs.
Our students and instructors share a common goal of connecting minds, eyes, and hands in seamless harmony to craft beautiful objects, large and small, with which to enrich their lives and communities. This commitment to becoming an active creator in the environment expresses care for the life that will happen within it, and is the same spirit referred to by poet Gary Snyder when he advised in his book Turtle Island, "find your place on the planet and dig in."
Heartwood continues to be the place for people to gather and discover the tools to do just that.
The Heartwood Schoolhouse is located in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. Built by the staff and students in 1978-79, the building houses our office, spacious classroom, greenhouse, well-equipped woodworking shop, library with over a thousand books and videos on building, and dining area where we serve delicious and bounteous home-cooked lunches.
The surrounding Berkshires provide an ideal environment for a learning vacation. Cultural and recreational activities abound. Nearby is Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Stockbridge Playhouse, Hancock Shaker Village, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the legendary Dreamaway Lodge, the Appalachian Trail, picturesque New England villages, lakes and streams, and miles of forests to explore. Our Schoolhouse is located on a beautifully wooded yet sunny hillside, providing relaxing and spacious surroundings for your Heartwood activities.
Our instructors are contractors and tradespeople who take the time to share and communicate their love of their craft. They are people who are not only skilled at their trades but also good teachers, and we are lucky to have them. Learn more about our instructors HERE.
Contact the Heartwood School at firstname.lastname@example.org or 833-478-9663.