Archive | Design RSS feed for this section

Women of Woodworking – Vanessa Johnston, South Queensferry, Edinburgh, Scotland

15 Jun

IMG_2844Vanessa Johnston’s journey as a fine woodworker has only just begun, and she is starting with quite a bang. She is a recent graduate of the Chippendale International School of Furniture in Edinburgh and was awarded the prestigious honor of being named the Chippendale Society’s Student of the Year.

Vanessa began woodworking at 20 when she assisted with the construction of an outdoor kitchen and a private tent site. Over time, her carpentry interests developed into a passion for fine woodworking.

“Building tables for wedding altars and my own dining areas plunged me into wanting to be able to do it well and build find things,” she explains.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vanessa’s favorite tool is her ventilator mask, as it goes through every step of every project with her. She is inspired by a variety of art, from little sculptures her fiance’s father carved out of driftwood, to works by Rothko and Jacques Louis David.

“Gloria Petarre has a black and white oil painting called Leaves that stirs my soul… I think out of everything right now though it’s Alexander Calder’s Blue Feather. The movement in his sculptures makes me feel like I can fly,” she shares.

IMG_2850.JPGIn her recent works, Vanessa has completed an armchair of her own design, which she describes as “loosely based on both the Sam Maloof low back chair and the Wegner Wishbone chair.” It features Scottish elm and olive ash hardwoods. She is also turning live edge bowls and platters from a green cherry tree.

To view more of Vanessa’s work or get in touch:

http://vanessa.io
@vanessawoodworking

Advertisements

Women of Woodworking – Kate Duncan, Vancouver, BC, Canada

31 May

Kate Duncan is pretty straight forward. It shows through the clear and clean lines in her work, and even in sharing her story, she sticks to the elements of what works and what doesn’t.Debra Collection.2016.17

She describes her woodworking background in plain terms. She started woodworking in her 7th grade shop class, and now works out of her studio in Vancouver, BC.

Kate’s modern collections are constructed using traditional joinery. Her designs feature luxurious accents such as elegant hardware selections or fluid pairings with mellow leather upholstery. Each collection is gracefully named in a playful juxtaposition to it’s defined forms.

When it comes to tools, Kate likes “Chisels. Sharp ones.”

Heather Bed.2016.7

She draws artistic inspiration from The High Line in New York City.

Kate’s current projects include protyping a new dining room table design. “It’s very fashion forward… I’m experimenting with a few new techniques.”

 
To view more of Kate’s work or get in touch:

http://kateduncan.ca
@kateduncandesign

Women of Woodworking – Danielle Rose Byrd, Bar Harbor, Maine

8 May

IMG_0712Danielle Rose Byrd is a woodcarver who enjoys making bowls, spoons, shrink pots and other utensils. Much like the craft of woodworking itself, there is a welcoming feel to Danielle’s work. Aside from the obvious functionality of kitchenware as a sharing or serving piece, her work is comprehensible. Forms are crafted to please the eye with layers of texture to tease the mind and incite the urge to touch.

Danielle is originally from Maine and has spent almost her entire life there. Her father was a carpenter, and growing up “I got a good dose of hammer swinging,” she says.

IMG_0713She started woodworking in college, and has been professionally for the past six or seven years. Her favorite tool is “A scary-sharp gouge. Or anything sharp that happens to be
within arm’s reach just when I want it. Nothing beats that,” she explains.

Her recent focus has been on bowls. “I’ve been swinging between the extremes of refined, simple forms and rough, wild, and impulsive forms. I like a good mix. I’ve also been working on some angular, large facet shrink pots with those fat lids I like.”

While Danielle is known for her hand carving technique, she is not afraid to explore new horizons and utilize what is discovered in her development of new work. “I recently got a turbo plane power carving disc, and I’m excited to see what comes of that. I love hand tools, but power carving intrigues me,” she explains.IMG_0714

“I find that when I indulge in my interests, even if it doesn’t materialize as something I intend on selling, it usually helps to inform other work in a beneficial way. Sometimes I just have to scratch the itch and that’s enough to inspire me elsewhere.”

Danielle’s work will be on display at Island Artisans gallery in Bar Harbor this summer. To view more of her work or get in touch:

daniellerosebyrd.com
daniellerosebyrd@gmail.com
@danielle_rose_byrd

Women of Woodworking – Meredith Hart, Durham, North Carolina

26 Apr

IMG_0519When asked, Meredith Hart will tell you she meandered into woodworking. Her background is in art and design, and after college she moved to Vermont to take classes at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. She just so happened to really love the ladder back chair and box making classes. Then, she applied to the North Bennet Street School in Boston, which is where she claims to have really made her start.

Taking a look at Hart’s work, albeit from a distance, it’s hard to believe she aimlessly drifted into something that she has such a natural aptitude for. Her work pairs the restraint of classical styles with modern shapes. Pieces appear to be practical, almost sensible, but a dashing undertone shines through in the details. A seemingly simple table may feature proud, hidden carvings under the top’s edges or crisp, faceted stretchers. IMG_0521

Like a reflection of her own journey into the craft, there is a bit of enchantment in her work that can only be seen if you look closely enough.

Hart is currently working on a commissioned design for a leather top desk that will include brass lion’s feet. A touch of other elements such as metal or glass is another signature in Hart’s balanced compositions.

“I don’t think I’ll ever have a custom project that doesn’t require me to learn something new. That’s what keeps it interesting,” she says.IMG_0520

Her favorite piece of art is Wharton Esherick’s woodcut “Swing.” “With just a few simple cuts the image depicts the pull of gravity and rush of wind in a way that you can almost feel it,” she describes.

Her favorite tool is her Stanley 71 1/2 router plane she acquired while in school in New Hampshire. She now resides in Durham, North Carolina, where she enjoys living between the coast and the mountains.

 

 

To view more of Meredith’s work or get in touch:

MeredithHartFurniture.com
Meredith@MeredithHartFurniture.com
@MeredithHartFurniture

Women of Woodworking Reworked

24 Apr

Recently I received yet another inquiry asking if I could connect a business with a woman woodworker for a potential project. They found my information through my website, specifically my own Women of Woodworking project. It was a long shot for them to reach out but in the end, we were able to get them connected with someone.

Over the past few years I have had to pause this project, with the hopes to restore it and build even more of what has already continued to grow in my absence – a community for women woodworkers.

Inspired, I’ve fired up the old IG account and threw out a few posts. I’ve been blown away by the positive reception. I know now for sure I need to continue to tell the stories of the women that help make this moment in our craft such a beautiful one.

As with any prototype, Women of Woodworking is being slightly reworked from its original version to allow for more frequent posts and varied content as we move forward (including shop tours, videos, and so on). While I am exploring new possibilities and directions for the project, for now, my website ktthompson.com will continue to serve as the series’ official home, as well as our Instagram, @WomenofWoodworking.

Most importantly, I look forward to connecting more interesting people and sharing their unique stories as women in woodworking. Don’t hesitate to leave comments with your favorite crafts women, works or questions you’d like to ask. This is a dynamic community and I encourage the friendly spirit of sharing that woodworking brings out in the best of us.

Women of Woodworking – Keira James, Staveley, England

16 Mar

unnamed-2Keira James’ introduction to woodworking shows that it’s never too late to follow your dream. James took two woodworking classes in high school that served as her original foray into the world of woodworking. James took the class twice “….because I failed the first time (I didn’t finish my coffee table.)” While James didn’t take to the craft initially “It’s not something I’m naturally gifted at,” she explains, the passion to make items of quality stayed with her. “I actually put it on my bucket list. The interest has always been there even though I’m not sure where it originally came from.”

Despite some nasty chisel cuts and frustrations with plane blades in high school, it wasn’t until James turned 25 that she realized it was time to follow her dreams. “I was 25 and realized I wasn’t passionate about anything I was doing in life.” After trying a few hobbies James moved to the UK for two years but the desire to make fine furniture never left her. “With all of these positive changes I kept going back to wanting to make furniture and often would spend hours researching different courses and options to learn the skills.”

unnamed-3

After some soul searching and discussions with family, James put her traveling plans on the back burner to save money to take a course. Even with the support of her family James said she was still nervous about making the leap, “I had quite a bit of anxiety leading up to the course which is really unlike me. I was scared I had made a terrible mistake. What if I didn’t like it? What if it is a big waste of money? What if I’m not good enough? What if I’ve wasted all of this time living a quiet life and saving hard and it’s all for nothing?”

Most of those questions were answered once James started her course and the anxiety dissipated. Still, she put immense pressure on herself at first. “Another guy started on the same days as me and he was much faster, I was always playing catch up, spending extra time at the workshop so I wouldn’t fall behind. I was sore all of the time, my hands, wrists, arms and shoulders. I even dreamt I had broken my hands.”

unnamed-4

Despite the pain and stress James pressed on, “Eventually my body got stronger, the extra time I spent started to pay off. I realized I had nothing to prove to anyone and stopped putting so much pressure on myself.” Now James spends six days a week in the shop out of love for what she does, not out of fear or frustration.

James doesn’t think her experiences as a female have differed much from her male counterparts, even though she was the first female and the first foreigner at her school. As far as her gender influencing her work, while James mentioned that in a recent critique one of her cabinets were described as more “feminine” than the other’s projects, “I’ve never really considered work in terms of feminine or masculine.”

James' most recent project, a desk.

James’ most recent project, a desk.

James enjoys each new piece more than her last. Her most recent project is a desk that gave her the opportunity not only to design and build her own piece from start to finish, but it has also shown her a new niche to enjoy of hand shaping wood. “It is one of my favorite things to do….I spent about a week on the legs and I loved every minute of it.” The desk also features an impressive 76 dovetails.

James just finished her course at Waters & Acland in Staveley, England, and will be enjoying a few months of work and some fun in the UK before she heads home to Australia. She already has a few requests for pieces so she doesn’t think it will be long before she sets up shop once she returns. James is also qualified as a Speech Pathologist and works in rehabilitation of stroke victims while they are in the hospital.

For women in woodworking, James shared that she would like to see “…a community of female woodworkers to share our successes and teach each other, and to raise our profile. It would be nice if there were young girls who were thinking about woodworking as a career to look to the internet and find a group of talented female makers to show that even if it is male dominated that females can be excellent makers as well.”

While James does not have a website yet, you can follow her journey from recent graduate to professional woodworker on her Instagram account, @meraki_furniture.

Women of Woodworking – Jimmi Wingert, Los Angeles Area

18 Feb

unnamedIf there is one thing you can count on, it’s that Jimmi Wingert ’s work will rise to the occasion. Skill and imagination dance off of Wingert’s fingertips as a custom inlay artist and the result is nothing short of dazzling. Her intricate hand-cut inlays are not only made with beautiful materials such as mother of pearl, the delicacy of the designs is what really captivates you as you see tens of tiny little pieces all perfectly arranged to create an equally as beautiful scene. Then, put that scene on a stunningly handmade musical instrument someone else has dedicated themselves to creating and are placing in her capable hands, and you’ll be on Wingert’s level.

unnamed

Chickadee fretboard, Ed Claxton Guitars

Wingert had a different viewpoint of woodworking than the majority of us growing up. She had the opportunity to watch her mother develop her own passion for woodworking as a luthier. “I watched her build her shop, tools/jigs and career with not much more than the help of library books and determination,” says Wingert.

Although she wasn’t initially taken with woodworking, Wingert credits a commissioned piece her mother received from Larry Robinson as her initial spark of inspiration. “Larry had done a beautiful inlay representation of Hokusai’s Great Wave on a fretboard. I had seen many traditional inlays before, but never had I seen an inlay that made me think of it as an art form on its own, the guitar being the canvas,” shares Wingert. She began studying Robinson’s The Art of Inlay books and videos. She worked at her craft and eventually overcame her hesitations to work on handmade guitars that already had many hours and more invested in them by others.

unnamed-1

Four Seasons headstock, Wingert Guitars

Wingert doesn’t feel that she’s experienced much gender bias within the craft, partly due to her masculine name. “Over the years I have definitely surprised a few clients over the phone, I was not what they were expecting, but they weren’t upset by it.” She also credits the mostly male luthier community for welcoming her with open arms. “I’ve worked with a lot of amazing builders, but my mom being the only woman so far. Everything has been positive and I credit my mom for paving the way. She set the example that I really could do anything I wanted and she even made me question my own preconceptions of what women are capable of.”

Wingert does think that her gender has played a role in developing her work. She credits her good listening skills as a “feminine strong point” and believes in enables her to connect with her clients better, even if they are struggling to convey what they want from her work. Delving even further into her own style, Wingert says “My work does look feminine and I’m not entirely sure how much of that is me. You would be surprised by how many men request flowers and even, specifically, pink flowers.”

unnamed-2

Woman and Vines, Kinnaird Guitars

Wingert’s favorite piece is one of her most recent, Woman and Vines, “…usually my favorite piece is whatever I just finished. I try to push myself to do more/take more risks with each piece.” Wingert also shared that she’s also had some inquires about putting her work on some furniture pieces recently and she is looking forward to the challenge. “It’s exciting to me because I’ve almost exclusively worked on instruments, which have limited space to work within. It will be nice to do something different for a change.”

You can view more of Wingert’s work on jimmywingertinlay.com and follow her on Instagram @jimmiwingertinlay