The Woodschool Blog

2015 Open House

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At this year's Annual Open House, as guests started to arrive, the walkway became speckled with a polka dot pattern of raindrops. Up above, a single ominous cloud hovered in what was otherwise a bright and sunny sky. Just when the frustrating thought of moving everything inside crept into the minds of the staff, the cloud floated away just as inconspicuously as it had approached. It was a huge relief; although, to be fair, rain hasn't stopped us from having a blast before.

Each year at the end of June members of our local community are invited to our biggest party. With food and drink in hand, guests perused the New Work by Faculty exhibit in the Messler Gallery, as well as the many works in progress by current students and studio fellows throughout campus.

Progress in the Twelve-week Turning course

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The Twelve-week Turning Intensive students have been putting a myriad of techniques to work, producing stacks of bowls, spindles, carvings, vessels, and sculptures. Now entering the tenth week, individual styles and creative voices are beginning to emerge. Last week, industrial designer Dino Sanchez worked with the students individually to discuss the importance of marketing and product development. Dino quickly distinguished himself as an asset to the course by helping students recognize what makes their work uniquely special.

Winter Potluck

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The Twelve-week Turning Intensive students recently learned to turn bowls using wet wood. Unlike kiln dried wood, which produces flaky chips when turned, wet wood releases long, aromatic ribbons as it's cut into. With turning instructor Beth Ireland around, wet bowl turning means one thing: time to fire up the smoker. The bowl shavings are perfect for smoking meat, and from what I can tell, Beth's meat-smoking skill rivals that of her turning. She and her students invited the rest of campus over to the turning studio to indulge. The impromptu potluck was exactly what we all needed to get our minds off the cold - but beautiful - winter.

Beautility at the Messler Gallery

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Beauty + Utility = BEAUTILITY

The current show at the Messler Gallery is unlike any previous show at the school. "Beautility" is a collection of non-furniture objects, made at least in part with wood, that exemplify both pragmatic utilitarianism and aesthetic flair. For the full description of the show, click here.

The Fall Twelve-week Comes to an End

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During the final week of the fall Twelve-week Furniture Intensive, the students worked with focused determination, attempting to finish their pieces before showing them off to the rest of campus on their last day. Although there were some taped-on doors, some missing feet, and some strategically placed clamps still holding things together, the work was nonetheless impressive. This group of students had a special energy and camaraderie. Their playful enthusiasm emanated through their designs, which highlighted their unique personalities as individuals, but also their harmony as a group.

Progress in the Twelve Week

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As the Twelve-week Intensive enters its final four weeks, students are working tirelessly to get their case pieces together, while simultaneously beginning the design process for their curvature projects. One of the biggest challenges at this stage is resisting the temptation to rush. The pressure of too much work in too little time builds, and the excitement of learning the new processes for bending wood starts to mount, but you have this one set of dovetails on your case piece that just won't fit. These are the defining moments for emerging woodworkers. Having the focus to sharpen chisels, delicately pare the shoulder of a tenon, and gingerly test the fit of a joint when you are so close to being done and itching to start something new, is crucial to good craftsmanship.

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