There’s a three-month wait list for the three-legged stools made of walnut, mahogany and other woods made each Friday at a private woodshed in Marfa, Texas. There’s nothing terribly unusual about the stools themselves. The draw is in who made them. A group of girls aged seven to 14 gathers at the shop to craft the simple pieces under the supervision of artist Larry Bamburg, learning how to use real tools and equipment. They call themselves Lumber Club Marfa.
Recently profiled by Architectural Digest, the club started six years ago when Bamburg and his wife, curator Jenny Moore, moved to Marfa with their two daughters.
“I remember trying to find something with a sense of place to get the girls involved in,” recalls Moore, the director of the local Chinati Foundation. What was initially an informal family activity has now grown into Lumber Club Marfa, a proper collective with two-hour sessions followed by pizza dinners and games of tag.
If the program isn’t quite a formal production shop, it is an incredible confidence-builder. “Watching a little girl take on a sander is powerful,” says Moore. “I’ve seen them push through their comfort zone, wipe away tears and sawdust, and get back at it.”
Lumber Club Marfa has its own website selling the stools for $300 each, and proceeds go to the girls’ future post-secondary education, whether they choose college or a trade. According to the site, the group’s goal is to teach its members the same adaptability found in a stool that stays solid and stable regardless of the terrain.
Want to support the club in another way? You can follow them on Instagram @lumberclubmarfa to watch their progress and cheer them on.