Students make strong showing in AWFS design contest
I was among the 9 judges for this year’s Fresh Wood Student Design Competition, and we had a good time scoring an impressive field of pieces and hashing out a consensus on each category. Although the contest showcases the work of both high-school and post-secondary students, we were very pleased to give the Best in Show award to a high-school student! I think that was a first for the competition.
The winner was “An Apple a Day,” by Tyler Duperron of Fletcher’s Meadow Secondary School in Ontario, Canada. It also took first place in the Open category for high-school students. Duperron stack-laminated rings of MDF and then shaped it to create a perfect apple skin, topped with maple veneer that suggests the creamy inside of a ripe Delicious. The shaping was impeccable. Consider how complex the contours of an apple are. Even the stem (walnut or rosewood, I think) was beautifully shaped.
Personally, I was equally smitten with a little jewel of a cabinet from Andrew Wallace of the College of the Redwoods in Mendocino, Calif. Sure, I’ve seen these Krenov-inspired cabinets before, but they are beloved for a reason. When perfectly done, like this “Scotch Cabinet,” every detail is considered, from the proportions of every element down to the pulls and the spacing of the dovetails in the drawer. Perfectly fit knife hinges are a thing of beauty all by themselves. By sawing a yaka (yeah, I’ve never heard of it either) board into thick veneers to cover the whole exterior, laminating them with kwila for a light interior, and keeping the frame members very thin, Andrew Wallace created a low cabinet I could live with for decades. The tiny snakewood (another weird West Coast wood) pulls might have been my favorite element.
In my opinion, these two pieces stood head and shoulders above everything else.
I’ve also included a few of my other favorites from the show, whether winners or not. With nine judges, I didn’t always get my way, so I guess this blog is my revenge.
I just can't believe a high-school student made this tasty table, a perfect blend of artistry and technical mastery. The judges were pleased to award Best in Show to Tyler Duperron from Fletcher's Meadow Secondary School, in Ontario, Canada.
If it were up to me, I might have given the edge to this understated but flawless piece of furniture, "Scotch Cabinet," by Andrew Wallace of the College of the Redwoods in Mendocino, Calif.
Every detail and element were thought out and perfected. Notice the grain matching and the little contrasting bead around the back panel.
I love interactive pieces like E Pluribus Unum, by Christopher Atwood of the Cneter for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. You can't see it here, but the sections can be re-arranged into lots of fun, nested arrays.
I'm also a sucker for modern pieces like "Swell," designed and made by Rebekah Schaberg of the University of Kentucky for the production/contract category. I like how the eye-catching laminations create very functional shelves.
Here's work by another amazing high-schooler. Brady Reed of Quinter High School in Quinter, Kansas. This knockdown table was built of flat pieces that Reed cut on his school's CNC machine, but the genius is all his. Three identical pieces interlock to create the base, and the top is held on with rare-earth magnets. Reed promises to build one from a nice hardwood for the FWW Readers Gallery.
Hammock Chair is another CNC-cut piece, made by Chase Willis of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Because Willis made it from wood, there was short grain in the back that actually broke during the show. But all the judges agreed that it was a brilliant design, ready for production, if it were made with another material.
There were traditional pieces, too. Jason Davis of University of Rio Grande, in Rio Grande, Ohio, made this pitch-perfect reproduction of a grandfather clock. Notice the upswept corners of the pediment molding--complete technical mastery.