SPRING 2013 | St. LawReNc e UNIveRSIt y Ma Gaz INe 23
Kathleen Buckley :
Sawdust -Maker ’
The beauty, utility and "simple elegance" of
Shaker-style furniture appeal to
Kathleen Buckley. In Shaker communities,
men and women have equal footing, and "a
woman invented the circular saw," she says,
smiling. But those are just a few reasons why
she enjoys woodworking and creating pieces in
Growing up "in the woods" of Western Mas-
sachusetts gave her an appreciation of trees
and all that they're used for, Buckley says, but
it was something much more basic that drew
her to woodworking. In graduate school, she
stored her books in boxes because her book-
shelves collapsed and she couldn't afford to
buy more. She salvaged "curbed" lumber and,
armed with a quarter-inch drill, built her own.
During a pastorship residency, Buckley be-
came friends with another pastor who worked
with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter.
I had grown up with antiques and refinish-
ing furniture, and he knew how to build, so we
met in the middle," she says. "Once a week,
we would get together and ‘make sawdust.’ I
loved it, and began doing it regularly as stress
As she went through the process of coming out as bisexual,
Buckley says that the work she did with wood was therapeutic.
In my profession, there is no 'product,'" she says. "It was a
nice contrast for me to be able to have something, at the end,
to show the work I had done."
It has also helped her build a new relationship with her father
who gives her tools as gifts now, and works on pieces with
her – and build relationships in the community. The workshop
at her home, she says, is a community shop: Buckley welcomes
friends and neighbors who need to use equipment for a proj-
ect. She hopes also to teach more women to use power tools.
Buckley's favorite wood to work with, she says, is maple. "De-
ciduous trees have much to teach us, especially about waiting,”
she observes. “They wait every year to re-leaf in the spring. I
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