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The Woodschool Blog

Beautility at the Messler Gallery

Written by Michaela Stone on .

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

Written by Michaela Stone on .

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

Written by Michaela Stone on .

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.

Discovering Veneer Workshop

Written by Michaela Stone on .

Veneer has been stigmatized as a fake, cheap way to make man-made goods look like wood. For many, the word elicits a sense of superficiality, even deception. It occupies the same space as laminate floors and formica countertops. In the world of fine furniture making, however, veneer implies complexity, beauty, laborious craftsmanship, and freedom. The use of veneer allows a woodworker to abandon the engineering constraints of wood movement, expanding design possibilities exponentially.

During the two-week Discovering Veneer workshop, students explored the copious design potential of working with veneer, with the guidance of Craig Stevens and Aaron Fedarko.

Design Studio Workshop

Written by Michaela Stone on .

Design Studio was one of the new course offerings this year, and the one-week workshop proved to be a great success. Taught by Asher Dunn, a furniture and lighting designer based in Providence, RI, the course focused on the critical first steps for designing furniture for production, as well as the importance of research and market awareness.

Rather than pushing to create a finished piece, students developed many iterations of a single design, both on paper and though model-making. By bringing in a dynamic new instructor and stimulating conversation about the relationship between woodworking and industrial design, this production-centric course was a fantastic compliment to the other, more traditional woodworking courses taking place on campus.

Finishing Workshop

Written by Michaela Stone on .

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.

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