The Furniture Society, in conjunction with the Center for Art in Wood, held their FS16 Craft/Facturing Conference at UArts in Philadelphia, June 23-25. The festivities ended just last night with dinner, live music, and dancing! To prepare for the event, on Wednesday we moved our tools, projects, and equipment to a secondary workshop down the hall, freeing up bench space for FS demonstrations.

During the conference, we presented our collaborative concept/project for one of the panel sessions. Using multiple images of two pieces, Ashley created a Powerpoint presentation to illustrate how the work progressed as each artist responded to the words selected. From a scholarly point of view, Ashley discussed the conceptual origins of  artistic collaborations (think exquisite corpse), and then Katie described the progression of the pieces.

IMG_0281 copyLeft to right, Rebecca, Michaela, Amy, Nuch, Katie, Ashley. Katie Hudnall is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Furniture Society.

Our collaborative projects, works-in-progress.

One of the many enjoyable events of the FS2016 was Thursday night’s gallery crawl, which featured a book signing at the Center for Art in Wood, showcasing their current exhibit, “On the Edge of Your Seat.” The accompanying book, On the Edge of Your Seat, is a full-color, large-format hardback volume that can be purchased from the CAW’s website: www.centerforartinwood.org. (While there, become a member and help support the Center’s many wood-related programs!)

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At the Center, Ashley Ericksmoen talks with Gord Peteran, professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto.

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Wendy Maruyama and Albert LeCoff (Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Art in Wood). Wendy recently retired from, “a storied career of teaching at San Diego State University.” Her innovative work is represented in the permanent collections of numerous national and international museums. Many of her former students attended the conference and were also presenters. Maruyama’s legacy is vast!

Clockwise from top left: Michaela Stone and Tina LeCoff (facilitator extraordinaire and wife of Albert LeCoff). Michaela signs her page in the book and Amy Forsyth signs hers.

Top row: Don Miller, (Wood Coordinator, Associate Professor at UArts) talks with Gord Peteran. BA Harrington (Director of the Wood Center, Indiana University Pennsylvania) and Peter Park, an international (South Korea) artist. Middle row: RH Lee (Manager at Offerman Woodshop, Los Angeles), Laura Zahn (Owner/Manager of Off the Saw and an instructor at California State University, Long Beach), and Addie Metivier (student of furniture design at Bucks County Community College). Bottom photo, Michaela Stone with Michael Puryear, furnituremaker.

IMG_0210 copyThroughout FS2016, a film crew from the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) recorded events and will make available a short video of conference highlights. One crew member visited our workshop to film Nuch working. To learn more about the IWCS, watch videos of their World Wood Day celebrations, and explore the the many wood-related events they record and help sponsor, visit their website, www.iwcs.com.

As did the other Windgate ITE Fellows, I attended several panel discussions, awards ceremonies, and keynote talks. These intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking sessions were a welcome opportunity to learn about various artists’ work, their thought processes, achievements, failures, and personalities. Occasionally an audience member would ask a process-related question, but for the most part, the attendees seemed to appreciate relegating those topics to the wood studio. Through his words and images, I learned that after an uncertain and unpromising beginning to his career, Wendell Castle eventually boldly followed his own individual path, a message that resonated. He stressed the importance of having passions outside of furnituremaking: His are collecting antique roadsters, playing tennis, and learning to make music. Music ranks at the top.

Sarah Marriage, furnituremaker, is in the early stages of creating “A Workshop of Our Own,” a cooperative workshop for women furnituremakers, which will also offer woodworking classes. Learning about this project will lead me to dig deeper to research and write an article to share her story with others. When women acquire woodworking skills, they also learn it’s possible to create, manipulate, and change their world. Empowering!

Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist