Friday August 12th 2022

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Community Woodshop Seeks Physical Space and Neighborhood Input


Fireweed Community Woodshop (FCW), formerly known as the Women”™s Woodshop, had to close its South Minneapolis physical location in April of 2020 due to COVID. The shop was started by Jess Hirsch in 2016 as a safe studio and classroom space for women and nonbinary folks to practice and learn woodcraft. During the lock-down, she and a group of dedicated instructors, volunteers, and students used the down time to learn and transition the shop to a cooperative nonprofit, renamed Fireweed.

Fireweed”™s mission is to facilitate creative and vocational experiences in the art of woodcraft for genders traditionally marginalized in the field.

Throughout the past year, the woodshop has offered virtual hand tool classes such as spoon carving, chip carving, woodblock printmaking, and Dala horse carving as well as demos such as dovetails and bowl carving. The virtual space created new opportunities to gather folks outside of the metro area as well as large groups together in panel discussions such as “Getting into the Trades,” “Getting into Furniture,” and “Building Codes and Construction Standards.”

While virtual programming will continue, FCW is seeking a new physical space to facilitate more varied classes, fabrication projects, support local makers through retail, and to gather as a community again.

FCW is also hoping to reach new communities post-lock- down and is interested in hearing from community members about what they
would like to see offered at a femme-centered woodworking space,
and will be launching a “Get Involved” page with inquiry forms for volunteers, apprentices, instructors and board members in the coming

Some of the in-person classes offered pre-pandemic
BIPOC spoon carving class, June 2021, taught by Fireweed instructor Vanessa Walton in coor- dination with St Paul Parks and Recreation. Photo by ASHA SHOFFNER

Community inquiries and feedback can be directed to

Check out and @fireweedwoodshop for updates on free summer carving hangouts and other events and offerings.

Any leads on affordable spaces that can support the electri- cal needs of power tools and classroom gathering can also be directed to fireweedwood-

Jessie Merriam is an instructor, Education Committee member, and free carving hangout coordinator with Fireweed Community Woodshop.

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