Meet scholarship winner Natalie Houston
This Burlington, Ky., Army veteran is one of three awarded scholarships to Fine Woodworking Live 2018
A combat veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2012 and has been awarded numerous medals including the Bronze Star, Natalie started woodworking in 2014, when she was still in the Army and pregnant with her first daughter. “I built her furniture using pine and pocket screws.”
After leaving the military, she discovered her new hobby was also a valuable tool to help her cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Woodworking brings me peace and helps me battle my PTSD by training my mind to focus on the task at hand and solve problems while remaining calm and thoughtful.”
She soon found herself part of a tight-knit community of woodworkers who were happy to help her and give pointers. The feelings of isolation that had troubled her after leaving the Army started to ease.
“My first real project was an outdoor cedar bar using traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery, half-lap bridle joints, and a live-edge top. I’ve learned to hand-cut dovetails with the help of Rob Cosman and have built two styles of Shaker stools using only hand tools.”
Besides being a combat veteran, Natalie is a stay-at-home mom and farmer in Burlington, Kentucky. She hopes Fine Woodworking Live will help her develop a better understanding of wood movement and design, and help her refine her skills in joinery and wood turning. “I’d also thoroughly enjoy experiencing the sense of community that exists wherever woodworkers convene.”