Peter Feinman, CA '83
Peter says his long-time connection to the school “Is because NBSS’s mission resonates strongly with me and I want to support the school as it trains more talented craftspeople in Massachusetts and beyond.”
Peter Feinmann created his career path by artfully combining a proclivity and a passion. North Bennet Street School provided the critical link.
A self proclaimed organizer in the neighborhood where he grew up, he attended Trinity College and developed a love for architecture and the ability to think critically. A serendipitous request from a friend to substitute for an injured construction worker introduced Peter to the industry. To progress in the field, he realized he needed to master the craft of carpentry. North Bennet Street School, with its accelerated and targeted curriculum, provided the perfect solution. After graduating in 1983, Peter became a project manager for a condominium developer in the Lexington area and discovered his true calling—that of construction management. He left the developer in 1987 when he founded Feinmann, Inc., a residential design/build firm.
In honor of his accomplishments, Peter received the NBSS Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008. He maintains his bond with NBSS and has advocated for the school since his days at the bench, serving on the Committee of Overseers, as Annual Evening of Craft Chair, and currently as a program advisor and member of the Board.
Peter is excited about the new building and says “It is fun to watch the school’s vision come to fruition… a home for all programs and a prominent place in Boston’s history for years to come.”
Lisa Hunnewell von Clemm
In craft, there is often an an influential person whose passion fuels the interest of others. Such was Hollis Hunnewell, a talented craftsman who built parquet floors, did needlework, built furniture and chopped wood to heat his bookbinding studio in the family's home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It was in that studio that Hollis' daughter, Lisa Hunnewell von Clemm, began her love affair with bookbinding.
Lisa moved to London fifty years ago with her husband Michael von Clemm where they raised their family. She enrolled in a part-time bookbinding course taught by the eminent Sally Lou Smith—later a mentor and great friend. In 1986, she won The Annual Bookbinding Competition sponsored by Designer Bookbinders and has organized the competition ever since. In 1994, she was made an honorary fellow of Designer Bookbinders, the foremost society devoted to the craft of fine bookbinding, and continues to support the craft in London and Boston.
The Boston Athenaeum mounted an exhibit in 1986 titled “Family Bindings: The Books of Hollis Hunnewell and Lisa Hunnewell von Clemm.” The family's bookbinding story is charmingly told in the exhibit catalogue.
Lisa is a collector of modern fine bindings and artists books. Her true passion is for the forwarding and finishing of bindings, for the vocation of bookbinding and for the vocational mission of the North Bennet Street School.
“What I respect is the craft. Students must master the basics of how a book is constructed, which NBSS does really well. Then they can take off and do all kinds of wonderful things.”
A longstanding and generous supporter of NBSS, Lisa currently serves as a trusted mentor and program advisor to the bookbinding program and is a veteran member of the school's governing board. “North Bennet Street School is deeply ingrained in my family. From the founding days, there has always been a member of the Hunnewell family involved with the school.” In fact, she is a distant cousin of NBSS founder Pauline Agassiz Shaw.
Lisa hopes to pass the baton to a younger member of the family. At the moment, that encouragement takes the form of an open invitation to her teenaged grandchildren for tea and books on Sundays.
Paul Marshall, PA '03
“As my journey shows, the skills I learned are high quality and portable, making it possible for me to earn a living almost anywhere. “
Like many NBSS alums, I came to North Bennet Street School through a circuitous path. Mine took me from my home town of Santa Cruz on the west coast to Vermont where I first learned about this incredible piano technology school in Boston. After two years as a student in the NBSS piano department, I went back to San Francisco then to Los Angeles and finally back to San Francisco where I started a business and have lived ever since. As my journey shows, the skills I learned are high quality and portable, making it possible for me to earn a living almost anywhere.
From the very first day, my time at NBSS was memorable. I looked around during orientation—people of all ages and from all walks of life— people who would be sharing this new beginning with me. It was a little intimidating and absolutely inspiring. I’ll take it one day at a time, I thought. My days, which added up to two academic years, were days spent in the company of incredible instructors Jack, Chris, David and Debbie. I learned something new every day and I didn’t want it to end.
But end it did, and when I left with my diploma, I went back to the west coast and eventually started my business—the San Francisco Piano Shop. I’m happy to say I’m quite busy and I know none of this would have been possible without the training I received at NBSS. So when I received a request for a contribution from the School, I decided that I could contribute the equivalent of one tunings worth of income—and I did.
I know how much the School means to me. I want the School to last as long as possible, so I hope others will consider joining me and make a gift to NBSS’s Annual Fund.
Natalie Q. Albers
- Natalie Q. Albers
“I saw a need and I was delighted to find a way to fill that need. My goals were to leave a legacy for North Bennet Street School while at the same time making a provision for my own financial future.”
Natalie Albers has lived in New England for most of her life. She heard about North Bennet Street School when she was living in Milton and was delighted to be asked to join the Board in 1980, beginning a 20-year Board tenure and a further decade as a member of the Corporation and Overseer.
During her time on the Board, Natalie served on a number of committees including the Scholarship Committee. As she read scholarship applications, she learned that a North Bennet Street School education was a life-changing opportunity for students. As a result of her engagement, Natalie was inspired to make a Legacy Gift to the School. She set up a Charitable Remainder Trust for which NBSS is the beneficiary. Natalie receives the income generated by the trust during her lifetime.
Natalie believes that her gift will inspire her children to do something similar—and she is thrilled to know that her gift will help future generations fulfill their dreams of productive and creative lives spent working in traditional trades.
As the result of her gift, Natalie is now a member of the 1885 Society, North Bennet Street School’s Legacy Giving Society.
Paula Garbarino, CA ’80, CF ’88
- Paula Garbarino, CA '80, CF '88
"... for the last dozen years I have made it a priority to make a financial contribution to North Bennet Street School -- a very special place."
Essential in the nature of the human being is the drive to be a maker. Early humans made tools to hunt, to farm, to build shelter, to make useful things and the urge to decorate them. From trial and error the very best ways of making were developed based on the attributes of available materials and the vast capability of the human hand. Skill was developed and passed on. Industrialization added new capability but it also contributed to the depletion of the human element and the aspects of making that require precise skills. Long standing skills were lost.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen an impressive growth in hobby-oriented handcraft (publications, stores, TV shows) while, at the same time, institutions that preserve traditional skills have died. Across the country, technical training at all levels has decreased and often disappeared. It is sad to think how many people are deprived of the pleasure of manual training.
I was a maker from childhood, creating miniature houses and furniture, needlecraft, beads, pottery and stained glass. I can’t conceive of my life without handwork to do. The training in both the carpentry and furniture-making programs provided the opportunity to work and excel in areas I wouldn’t previously (as a woman) have dreamed possible.
"I’m still awake to the miracle that I can make a living at what I love to do."
I’ve said it for years (and heard it from many others) that the time spent at NBSS was the best in my life. I continue to visit the school... always leaving stimulated and inspired by the student work and impressed with how much the organization does to validate hand-skill training.
After graduating, I established a business. I’ve worked with crews to build two houses, built several kitchens and more than one hundred pieces of furniture. The financial road has been bumpy, but for the last dozen years I have made it a priority to make a financial contribution to North Bennet Street School -- a very special place.