Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Adrian Potter: Thinking Furniture

comments (5) April 8th, 2010 in blogs, videos

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
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Video Length: 5:06
Produced by: Jonathan Binzen

Adrian Potter was featured on the back coverSubscribers 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. 

More on Adrian Potter

Back Cover of the May/June 2010 issue (FWW #212) Subscribers
How They Did It: Making Waves Subscribers
VIDEO: Watch the Ship in Action

More Masters of the Craft Slideshows

Hank Gilpin: Exploring the American Forest
Doug Mooberry: Kinloch Woodworking
Michael Hurwitz: Planks into Poetry
Brad Smith: Story of a Stool
Hank Holzer and Judith Ames: Labor of Love
Michael Fortune: The Clever Chair
John Cameron: A Musician in the Woodshop
Allan Breed: The Past Recaptured
Kintaro Yazawa: Joint Wizardry
Grant Vaughan: Subtropical Virtuoso
William R. Robertson: Micro Maestro

posted in: blogs, videos, pro portfolio

Comments (5)

lynxsg lynxsg writes: Thank you for your excellent article, Jon … you noticed that Adrian Potter said he was inspired by our old friend, James Krenov.

Posted: 7:49 pm on November 5th

fshanno fshanno writes: I'm afraid that if my grandson ever came across the Endeavour cabinet they would need to batten down the hatches. Cause there'd be a storm brewin'.
Posted: 2:01 pm on May 19th

mrfixitnow mrfixitnow writes: What a great perspective on woodworking! Thanks and best of luck in your adventures with wood and life.
Posted: 12:48 pm on May 10th

cenright cenright writes: I found this contribution inspiring. Keep the profiles coming Jon!
Posted: 11:13 pm on May 7th

fidgen fidgen writes: Beautiful piece on Adrian Potter's work-
thanks Jon- well done!
Posted: 8:52 am on April 9th

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