Adrian Potter: Thinking Furniture
Adrian Potter was featured on the back cover of the May/June issue of Fine Woodworking magazine (FWW #212).
Australian furniture maker Adrian Potter got his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Melbourne and was soon designing parts for an automotive factory. But the lure of working wood shifted his career path.
The inspiration of James Krenov’s A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook, which Potter read “from cover to cover, over and over and over,” solidified his decision. He nearly attended Krenov’s furniture making program at the College of the Redwoods, in California, but chose instead to study for two years under George Ingham, “an amazing man and an amazing maker,” at the Canberra School of Art in Australia’s capital city.
In the decade and a half since then Potter has been building furniture and sculpture for private and public clients. Potter’s beautifully crafted furniture, built in a rich palette of mostly Australian woods, is straightforwardly functional but also brimming with technical innovations–well-conceived experiments with shaping, joinery and materials.
Potter’s furniture is notable also for the ideas that inspire it. He’s built cabinets that comment on the extremes of the Australian landscape and chairs that spring from incidents in Australian history. The delightfully unorthodox ways he devises to express those ideas–whether with a model ship in one cabinet that rises and falls on wooden waves at the turn of a crank, or with recordings of water and weather that play when you open a chests’s doors and drawers–make Potter’s furniture some of the most enjoyable and intriguing being made today.
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