Timber Framer Jason Gibson

Timber Framer Jason Gibson Receives Education Award

Timber Framer Jason Gibson

Perth, Ontario Resident Jason Gibson Receives Education Award from the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals

Long-time timber framer and teacher Jason Gibson has been recognized for his dedication to teaching others the craft after receiving the Education award from the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.

Over the past 18 years, Gibson has worked with more than 400 students, from across North America through his renowned, 6-day timber framing courses. The nomination for the award saw many past students and colleagues beam about his contribution to the craft.

For years Gibson owned and operated Gibson Timber Frames, which built custom homes and buildings for homeowners and businesses. In an effort to focus his energy on teaching, Gibson sold his business in 2019.

Through his courses, Gibson says he sees the need and desire from his students to delve deep into a long-standing tradition they’ve never before explored.

“It surprises me every time the variety of people who end up here in my barn,” says Gibson. “They come from the city, the country, and everything in between.”

Despite their differences, Gibson says the group always bonds and comes together to create something incredible. “I have brothers who come to take the course, fathers and sons - even grandfathers who come with a grandchild. It’s always such a mix,” says Gibson.  

Those who have studied with him describe the experience as both inspiring and engaging. Annabel Slaight of the Ontario Water Centre, a site where Gibson has worked and taught over the years, describes how Gibson “offers caring, gentle guidance, and demonstrates a true love for his craft.”

Through his work, Gibson strives to keep the skills of traditional timber framing alive. During his seven-day course, Gibson engages students with hands-on work, teaching students the layout and cutting techniques of traditional square rule layout timber frame building – a layout style that began in North America in the early 1800s. Gibson also teaches tool use, including chisel use, hand saws, and how to plane large timber.

By teaching these skills, Gibson is helping to revitalize an almost forgotten craft.

At the end of the course, the students work together to raise their timber frame structure, re-creating the spirit of a community barn build; a method that rural farmers across Canada have relied on for centuries.  

“There seems to be a thirst for this kind of hands-on, communal work,” says Gibson. “In a society where people look at screens all day and interact mostly online, there’s a satisfaction that comes from working hard together to create something concrete.”

Gibson offers a revised version of his course at the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, and more recently has begun working with high school students in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

Cameron Jones, an educator with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, says Gibson’s impact is deep.

“Jason’s project with our students was life changing,” Jones says of a recent course Gibson ran with high school students. “It takes nothing short of a special adult - a knowing and patient and skilled adult - to lead a group of teenagers through the heritage construction arts.”

The impact of Gibson’s work is felt by more than just the students in his courses. He also gives back to a variety of communities.

Gibson donates a portion of his profits to charities and has given more than $50,000 over the past 13 years. Gibson supports charities such as WaterCan, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Guatemala Stove Project, Acceso International, WaterAid Canada, World Vision and Winter Warmth. He also gives to the Stewart Park Festival.

Now that he’s focusing solely on teaching, Gibson hopes to expand his offerings. He plans on teaching up to four courses in 2020. His commitment to teaching has educators like Cameron Jones excited for what’s to come.

“Jason builds and designs timber frames, and yet it is the work he does in building people, young and old, in the process of passing down the tradition of heritage construction that makes him one of the finest educators I have had the opportunity to witness and learn from,” says Jones.

To find out more about Jason Gibson and his timber framing courses, visit TimberSchoolCanada.com.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019