Best furniture from Southern California
It has been my pleasure to travel to San Diego each year to be a judge at the Design in Wood show at the San Diego County Fair, in Del Mar, Calif. I say pleasure not only because it is the biggest furniture show by any club in North America, but also because it is such a pleasure to work with the people who run it. For 20 years the top dog has been Bob Stevenson, with the help of his wife, Janet.
Supervising a wonderful group of volunteers from the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association, Bob has grown this show from a small display in a corner of one of the fair buildings to the massive display it is today, drawing pieces from around the world, and including many live demonstrations. My favorite is a live chair workshop that makes seating for day cares and schools.
If you have a chance to thank Bob for his many years of service to our craft, please do. He and Janet have already got two great vacations planned, one to Europe and one in their camper.
It’s not only the number of pieces–from furniture to turnings and sculpture–that makes this show stand alone, but it is also the quality of the work. The pieces pictured here are the ones I found most inspiring, but just a tiny sample of the overall show.
By the way, if you go, you’ll find a whole other hall filled with the work of local high-school and secondary-school students, which is just as inspiring.
Ralph Crowther of Mission Viejo, Calif., calls this nostalgic piece "Vacation Bound." I gave it the special Fine Woodworking award for design.
It's a fully functional chest of drawers.
The "Design in Wood" show is the largest of its kind in the U.S., thanks largely to the man on the right, Bob Stevenson. He and his wife, Jan, have organized the show for 20 years, and this is his last one. I'm smiling because Bob is one of the best guys I know.
David Marr of San Diego took Best in Show for this vanity, inspired by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. The marriage of woods is exquisite.
The technical execution is just as amazing. Note the fine veneer work and stringing.
Henry Strause of Oceanside, Calif. built this whimsical little cabinet, which is full of surprises.
Rippled glass has an interesting effect on the checkerboard interior.
Inside is a beautiful checkerboard pattern and two birds that stare at you.
Mike and Georgianne Jackofsky of Escondido, Calif., teamed up an this amazing little turning. All of the shading and patterning was done with a woodburning tool!
This gorgeous segmented vessel wasn't turned at all. Edgar Thomas of La Jolla, Calif., carved and sculpted the whole thing.
Dude, I had to include this rad paddleboard and sweet paddle, crafted by Charles Jennings, who hangs out in Poway, Calif.
Donald Van Winkle of Huntington Beach built this beautiful display unit in the Chinese style. All of the miters are tenoned in the traditional way.