In my experience, woodworkers tend to have a host of mixed feelings about finishing, apathy rarely being one of them. The right finish, applied in the right way, can transform a nice piece of furniture into one that sparkles with polished beauty. On the other hand, the wrong finish can create undesirable color, texture, sheen, and more, potentially detracting from even the finest craftsmanship. Harnessing the potential of the endless spectrum of finishes is an overwhelming task which one could pursue for a lifetime. Luckily for students at the Center, we have an expert in our midst. Teri Masaschi is a professional finisher and restorer from New Mexico, with extensive experience teaching techniques ranging from traditional hand-applied finishes to cutting-edge spray technology.
Former studio fellow Brian Persico taught a two-week bow making course here at the Center, and it was a smash hit. After making their own bows, from spliting a log to weaving their bow strings, the students put their craftsmanship to the test with some target shooting.
The Studio Fellowship is a unique program that gives emerging and established woodworkers the chance to advance their work within the supportive community of the school. Fellows are often graduates of the Center's Twelve-week and Nine-month courses, and visiting instructors frequently extend their time before or after their classes in order to participate in the program, as well. Fellows are integral to the vitality of the school, by helping maintain the facilities and volunteering at events, as well as contributing a dynamic creative energy.
Critiques are an essential aspect of the Nine-month Comprehensive curriculum. Students have the special opportunity to receive advice, opinions, compliments, and criticisms from the established furniture makers invited to participate. The Nine-month students have packed up their work and said their goodbyes, but before they left, they had one final critique for their chair projects. Chairs are exceptionally difficult objects to design and make. They require a deceptive amount of engineering to be structurally and ergonomically successful, and they invariably require bizarre angles and difficult joinery. However, they also provide a unique opportunity for a maker to express his or her individual voice, as evidenced by the range of styles presented in the critique, from a quiet dining chair with subtle details, to a modern twist on a throne. Visiting critics included David Upfill-Brown, Joe Tracy, and John McAlevey.
Each year, as the Nine-month Comprehensive starts to wrap-up, the Current Student Work show in the Messler Gallery always astounds and inspires. The level of skill and creativity that the students achieve is simply overwhelming. As you can see, this year is no exception:
Another blog post about snow? Isn't this supposed to be a blog about a woodworking school, ergo a blog about woodworking? Well, yes. But the Center is located in midcoast Maine, and Maine is a place so saturated in its own singular identity that everyone and everything within its borders marinates in Mainelyness until his, her, or its very core is so inextricably tied to Maine, that to reside elsewhere would mean to exist as someone or something else entirely. Thus, this blog is about Maine as much as it is about wood.