01 School Sign thumb

Earlier this spring I happened across the website for the Escoulen School of Woodturning. I had, of course heard of it before as a place for learning some great woodturnings. As I was perusing their summer schedule I noticed that they were offering a class on thin turning, or turning a trembleur. After all my time in woodturning, and all the symposium and instant galleries I’ve been to, I’ve never seen a trembleur ‘in person’ as it were. But I had heard of them, and seen the youtube video on the trembleur contest which was held right there at the Escoulen School, and was always fascinated by them. Well, here was the ‘Ecole Escoulen’ offering a class on how to turn one, taught by Jean-François Escoulen himself, and advertized as being in English! Could I possibly take part in it?

  

02 Aiguines Sign thumb

Well I had the vacation time, the price of the class was comparable to other week long classes; it would just take the price of the airline ticket to France. Yes, France! The Escoulen School of Woodturning is in a little village called Aiguines, in Provence, in the foothills of the French Alps, in southeast France, about two hours drive from Nice. Well, I decided to e-mail them and see if there happened to be a place still open, thinking it might be in such demand and fill up early. I quickly got an e-mail back saying that there was indeed a space available and they would hold it for me. Of course, if I were to go so far, and spend so much money, I would want to make it worthwhile, so I had asked if there was also a place in the class the week beforehand, or the week afterwards, and was told that they would hold the class the week before on turning the Chinese Ball, taught by Jean-Claude Charpignon for me also. That was also a woodturning specialty that fascinated me, but never thought I would take the time to learn. What the heck. With less than a month to prepare, I decided to go for it and headed off to Aiguines.

 

03 Canyon thumb 04 Aiguines View thumb

Now Aiguines is not an easy place to get to. The most direct route is to fly to France, take a train, then a bus and then have them pick you up in a car for the final leg. But Aiguines is located in a Regional Park near the Verdon Gorge (the Grand Canyon of France), and Lake Ste. Croix. So I wanted to take the opportunity to see some of the natural wonder also, so I rented a car and drove from Nice to Aiguines by the scenic route along the gorge. It was indeed worthwhile. The roads were narrow and windy, but the gorge of the Verdon is quite spectacular. Arriving in Aiguines, I immediately found the school, as it’s on the edge of town as one enters, and the village is not that large. It is a typically quaint old village, with narrow streets, and tile roofed buildings. It sits at an altitude of about 800 meters above sea level facing west out over Lake Ste. Croix. There is an old Chateau, a castle if you will, and a national monument, that sits distinctively watching over the village. It is a delightful place and a tourist attraction in its own right. It is only a short drive down to the lake and the beaches, swimming and boating, or a slightly longer drive to the historic towns and villages on the other side of the valley, and some more spectacular views and drives around the canyon. I know one of the other participants brought his wife with him, who enjoyed all the activities and sights of the area, while he was doing woodturning.

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Thursday the 21st. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.