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Chuck Griffith Wins Shaker Gallery Challenge

comments (5) May 1st, 2009 in blogs

thumbs up 28 users recommend

Congratulations to Chuck Griffith of Pound Ridge, N.Y. The Shaker enthusiast who posted about one entry per day during our challenge got unanimous approval by the judges as the winner of the A Whole Lotta  Shaker Goin’ On gallery challenge.

Choosing our favorite piece was the tricky part. The crowd favorite is actually a piece that he posted a day after the contest ended: a milk-painted hutch with a cherry counter.


Otherwise, we’d have to go with his Shaker dresser in tiger maple. Here’s what members said about the piece:

  • I am awed by the quality of this work. Beautifully done. Congratulations. BALDEGO
  • I really like how you have matched the grain pattern, yet provided some contrast on the top. Well done. drllucas
  • Love this piece. The use of dovetails is really smart. ranchodiablo


If you get the opportunity, visit his profile page and scope out more of Griffith’s incredible work. Each piece is beautifully photographed and he shares interesting anecdotes about each piece. Which is your favorite?

By winning this gallery challenge, Griffith will get to take home our Shaker prize package valued at more than $250 including two books The Shaker Legacy and In the Shaker Style, a Fine Woodworking Archive Collection DVD-ROM, a Fine Woodworking Shop Apron and a Fine Woodworking Mug.

Thanks to all who participated. Our next gallery challenge, Waste Knot, Want Knot, is already underway. Be sure to upload pictures of your green projects using reclaimed lumber.

posted in: blogs, shaker

Comments (5)

Chuck_Griffith Chuck_Griffith writes: Dear Twistjawa,

Thanks so much for your comments. The idea that my stuff might inspire someone else is pretty startling to me, but I do agree that Shaker design is a great north star to follow. It's partly a school of design, but it's also a philosophical ethos that says you should do the best you can, just for the sake of doing the best you can. Whatever quality my work has owes maybe a little to my limited skills (you should have seen the two lulu mistakes I made today), but a lot to the feeling that some Shaker ghost is watching and expecting me to meet their standard. I know that sounds corny, but it is pretty much the way I feel.

Best regards,
Posted: 9:27 pm on May 10th

twistjawa twistjawa writes: Thank you Chuck for showing so much of your work. I too am thrilled by the shaker style and try to stay true to those elements in my work. Your work has served as inspiration to me and has caused me to be more diligent in spending time in the shop. I thank you for that. I hope you keep posting to the gallery as you complete new pieces.
Posted: 10:19 am on May 10th

Chuck_Griffith Chuck_Griffith writes: Dear reggieK, Thanks very much. Most kind of you.
Posted: 10:20 pm on May 7th

reggieK reggieK writes: Mighty fine craftsmanship. All the entries were excellent. I would have had a hard time picking just one winner. The detail and finish on the winners entry is fabulous. Congratulations, you deserve the award.
Posted: 2:24 pm on May 7th

Chuck_Griffith Chuck_Griffith writes: Dear,

Thank you very much. I am truly flattered to have been chosen for this. There were so many deserving entries by other Shaker devotees. Seeing everyone's work together is a great thing. It does give a sense that there's at least a virtual Shaker community out there.

I sometimes feel a little apologetic about sticking so strictly to Shaker design. It obviates the need for so many woodworking skills - inlays, veneering, carving, complex-curve shaping, etc. - that I sometimes feel I'm playing it safe. But on the other hand, Shaker furniture is the only kind that truly thrills me. At the Whitney exhibition in 1986, the last object as you went out the door was a one-piece wooden grain shovel (now at the Shaker Museum in Chatham, NY). I was on my way back to work, and it just stopped me dead in my tracks. The handle was so beautifully shaped I couldn't stop staring at it. That the Shakers cared so intently about everything they did, even a shovel handle, is, to me, 300% admirable.

About the hutch the judges like best. I like it, too, but I posted it after the competition because I didn't think it was strictly Shaker enough to include in the event. It does share some Shaker design elements, but I can't think of any direct Shaker antecedents for it. Also, part of its purpose is to display things, and, near as I know, Shakers pretty much frowned on that.

My favorites among my entries are the cradle (posted 3/31), the 10-drawer cherry dresser (4/7), the candle sconce (4/15) and the trestle dining table (4/21).

It was great fun preparing all the photos. What I didn't expect were the generous comments from so many people and how nice it felt to make connections by responding.

Again, thanks very much for choosing me. This experience has been a real pleasure.

Best regards,
Chuck Griffith

Posted: 10:28 am on May 2nd

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