Haystack Residency Reflection

If you venture far enough north along the jagged Maine coastline you'll find a small craft wonderland. Perched atop a rocky island across the bay from Acadia National Park, Haystack Mountain School of Craft has been a seminal institution for craft education since long before I was born. 

Prior to the start of summer classes, Haystack hosts a residency program for artists and craftspeople from around the country, free of charge if you're accepted. It's a chance to dig into new projects, work alongside a talented and diverse cohort, and experiment across a range of disciplines. It's an environment free of distractions and full of resources. In short, it's the sort of opportunity you don't pass up. 

I spent the bulk of my time at Haystack experimenting with different ways to join wood and metal. There's no shortage of wood and metal furniture in the world, but almost all of it relies on fasteners to connect the two elements and usually hides them away out of sight.

I'm convinced there are more elegant wood/metal joinery, and these two weeks at Haystack were my first chance to really start digging into the details. There's still lots to be worked out, but keep an eye out for some of these elements working their way into future furniture projects. 


Custom Project Feature: Claude Wine Cabinet

I’ll spare you the diatribe about why I try to avoid working with plywood, but the short story is that I don’t like how ply ages. Because of my strong feelings towards plywood, I usually shy away from cabinet jobs. 

Plywood cases are so much faster and cheaper to make that it’s uncommon to find a project with the right conditions (or clients) for solid wood. Luckily, the design and details of this wine cabinet offered a rare opportunity to justify solid wood. Even better, the clients shared my propensity to avoid ply. 

The prompt was straight forward: design a cabinet that can hold at least 60-bottles of wine (various sizes), integrates seamlessly with existing architecture, and includes a system to ensure the bottles won't slide out in the case of a minor earthquake.

We divided the cabinet into three vertical sections to mirror the cabinets below the countertop and designate an enclosed space for glasses. The two large compartments are designed to handle standard wine bottles, while the lower row can handle the monster bottles. Ultimately, the design allowed for 100 bottles, and a party's worth of glasses. 

I won't get my hopes up that solid wood cabinets become the norm, but I'm glad it's still *occasionally* happens. 

Scope of work: design, fabrication
Materials: walnut, tempered glass, stainless steel
Finish: Rubio monocoat
Dimensions: 80” x 40” x 15”  (WxHxD)
Completion date: 5/2017

Behind the Scenes