I welcome you to visit the Fraser Cultural Centre in Tatamagouche for the NAC members’ show beginning Friday, June 10. The Northumberland Arts Council is a non-profit organization run by exceptional volunteers. For collectors, this means all sales are HST exempt and all commissions support the promotion of the arts in the area. Two of my pieces are on display- the award winning Lounge Chair No. 2 and Stool No. 6. Please visit their website- www.fraserculturalcentre.org for details.
I am pleased to announce being awarded Master Artisan status from the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council. After presenting examples of my work and speaking about my craft before the Standards Committee earlier this month, I was delighted to receive this letter confirming my acceptance as a master. Mastering anything requires a serious commitment of time and resources and it was no different in my case; there were no shortcuts such as a genius might enjoy, just some 30,000 hours of making things from wood. My thanks to all who had a hand in making this progress possible.
With real gratitude I announce that my Lounge Chair No. 2 has won a 2016 Niche Award.
My thanks to all who had a hand in arranging the awards and to those who made it possible for me to reach this level of design and craft. My sincere thanks also to Arts Nova Scotia for making it possible for me to be present with the chair at the American Made Show. More than 1600 submissions from Canada and the United States were considered. Only 180 were named as finalists. Less than 40 of these were winners. Winners were announced at a ceremony on Saturday, January 16, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
The criteria for the prize was three-fold:
- Technical excellence, both in surface design and form
- Market viability
- A distinct quality of unique, original and creative thought
It is an honor to be awarded this Certificate of Excellence from the Arts and Crafts Design Award for 2015.
From a worldwide field of hundreds of juried contestants from some 40 different nations, only 38 are chosen for this Certificate. This is the only one from Canada to be awarded. Once again, it’s my Lounge Chair No. 2 that drew this recognition.
So in addition to being the most difficult piece I have ever designed, and the most comfortable chair I’ve sculpted, it seems that it is also an achiever from a purely design perspective. Many thanks to all of my customers and supporters for helping me to this stage of furniture making.
The Niche Awards have been celebrating American and Canadian fine craft for 27 years. Sponsored by Niche magazine, artists are recognized in both student and professional divisions. Nearly 2,000 entries are received each year from professional and student craft artists from across the U.S. and Canada. Each year, a prestigious panel of judges is selected by the editors of NICHE magazine, including gallery owners, guild and museum directors, curators, craft industry experts and arts advocates. Only 5 artists are named finalists in each category. This year, my Lounge Chair No. 2- seen below- was named a finalist in the Tables and Seating category. I appreciate this recognition very much. The ceremony will take place January 2016 in Washington D.C.
It is with a great sense of accomplishment that I offer this new lounge chair. This design distills all of the talents and skills I possess into one piece of exceptional furniture. The fluid shaping of its parts make for a chair that is delightful to look at and a marvel of comfort. My J-Class Lounge chair- finalist for the 2012 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Award- served as a starting point. The seat is sculpted from one very thick premium Walnut plank, cut up and artfully arranged to accommodate the deep saddle and ‘poured’ leg joinery. Materials for this chair cost just over $1000.00. The rough seat blank being shaped into its final form leaves deep piles of sweet smelling shavings on the shop floor. This is sculpture in its age old form.
The delicate hand shaped spindles follow the curves of the sitters back. The laminated back crest flows into wide arms. Hard lines that are carefully formed by hand sanding around the outside of the seat and arms juxtapose with the soft fluidity of the rest of the chair. The creative effort depletes my reserves. It will be weeks before a new design can even be contemplated.
This stylized Art Deco chair is the result of an exciting commission I received earlier in the year. Rooted in the luxury of Art Deco design, it is crafted in Indian Rosewood, Italian leather and Ivory. The silhouette is Ruhlmann, but the details and execution are Otter. A main feature, the faceted back is made from staves curved in two planes, joined with tenons and inlaid with ivory. The ivory ‘stockings’ compliment the leather and inlay above. Photos by Johanna Matthews.
The stool pictured here is the latest result of my inclination to create furniture that explores the sculptural nature of wood. The unique growth rings and grain patterns that once existed deep in a tree are brought to light in this deeply carved piece. The seat, or saddle is shaped from a thick block of wood glued up from a single plank.
At the back, it is a full six inches deep, providing lumbar support and enveloping the sitter in luxurious comfort few would think possible from solid wood.
The underside of the seat is perhaps the most intriguing part of the design, incorporating what I call a ‘poured’ joint; the wood being carved to flow gracefully from the mass of the seat into the straight tapered legs. The mortise and tenon joint is pegged to prevent loosening over time.
A wide comfortable rung below the seat puts the finishing touch to this piece. All of this is done, not with computer controlled routers, but by hand, using simple tools. I sincerely hope you like it.