Teachening update

This past week, I taught a week-long workshop for MECA’s continuing studies program. The class was made up of six students, from high school age and up. The only thing this group had in common was their lack of experience with furniture making techniques and woodworking on a finer level. The class, which I developed to be part of a series of these workshops eventually, focused on learning the basics of woodworking and the shop (safety, proper use, best practices, basic joinery, wood selection, milling, assembly, finishing, etc…) by way of making a simple shaker end table. Each student made one and the goal was to have it sanded and assembled at the end of the week. We narrowly made it, with each student going home with their own solid cherry table.

I chose this table, because, while a BFA program focuses equally on technical practices and conceptual development, I find that the shop is really best learned through the strict parameters of a prescribed form. This table is familiar, straight forward, and relatively simple, while requiring many or all of the most common practices in the furniture making process. Simply put, it’s a great project to ensure a thorough learning of basic practices, while coming away with a finished and satisfying product.

I loved teaching this workshop for a few reasons:

1-I love teaching people how to make things and how to make them well. I find that pushing too much conceptual exploration, before establishing a technical framework can be counterproductive. By offering an assigned project with set dimensions, materials, and parameters, we can focus on developing these skills, and they can apply it to whatever they want in the future. It’s all the same process.

2-It’s always refreshing to teach a group of non-art-students. I love the weird conversations that happen in an art context, and I thrive on solving creative and structural problems with artists, but there is something endlessly satisfying about showing someone genuinely interested in learning a skill, how to do it, and how to do it right, simply for the sake of knowing something new.

3-Finally, the one week is such a fantastic setting to teach a time and labor intensive skill in. During the regular semester, students meet twice a week for 3 hours. Much of the semester is spent getting warmed up, then things get crazy, then it’s over. It always feels like there isn’t enough time. While one week is still a short time to make a functioning piece of furniture, 5 straight 7 hour days is a dream for getting work done. In the first two days of this class, I feel like we covered a months work of regular semester material, and the next day we just pushed on. We make three projects during a 14 week semester and even that seems tight at times. Granted, they are designing from scratch and have other classes, but it is a delight to have the full undivided attention of a group of learners.

As an added bonus, This class happened to coincide with the Thomas Moser exhibition at the ICA at MECA, which features, among many of his personal designs, a set of Shaker style tables just like we were making. If you are interested in furniture making and design, you should come see this show. It is set up as a learning experience and you will definitely learn a lot. We went into the show while it was closed so we could spend some time really inspecting the work, especially the Shaker end tables.

So, below are some photographs from this course. It was a whirlwind and a blast, and I think the students walked away with a general understanding of the basic principles of furniture making. the assignment was one Shaker end table with a 15″ square top, 23″ tall, a leg tapering from 1,3/8″ square to 3/4″ square, and a 2.5″ apron. I love these super specific assignments and have considered doing this even in my art furniture classes. first make this perfectly, then explore on your own….

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I want to fill you all in on a little project that I’ve been working on for some time now as a small side project, but is becoming more of a focus of mine right now and moving forward. In 2012, I became co-director, along with friend and Colleague, Daniel Fuller (now curator at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center), of the Portland Maine branch of Publication Studio. P.S. is an on demand publishing project, started in Portland Oregon, and springing up in mini-branches all over the country and now the world. We work with artists, writers, and thinkers on small projects to create runs of affordably produced and accessible publications. I’ll let the founders describe the mission of this project…

Publication Studio (founded in 2009 in Portland, Oregon) prints and binds books one at a time on-demand, creating original work with artists and writers we admire. We use any means possible to help writers and artists reach a public: physical books; a digital commons (where anyone can read and annotate our books for free); eBooks; and unique social events with our writers and artists in many cities. We attend to the social life of the book. Publication Studio is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense—not just the production of books, but the production of a public. This public, which is more than a market, is created through physical production, digital circulation, and social gathering. Together these construct a space of conversation which beckons a public into being.

Currently there are thirteen Publication Studio sibling studios:

Portland, OR
Patricia No and Antonia Pinter
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Ian Dolton-Thornton, (founded by Colter Jacobsen)
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Keith Higgins and Kathy Slade
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Derek McCormack, Alana Wilcox and Michael Maranda (PS Toronto is currently on hiatus.)
Minneapolis, MN
Sam Gould (PS Minneapolis is a peripatetic studio, formerly known as PS Midwest Radical Culture Corridor and PS Boston, defined by the location of Sam Gould and his machines.)
Portland, ME
Adam Manley
Philadelphia, PA
Robert Blackson and the Tyler School of Art
Los Angeles, CA
Sergio Pastor, Matthew Schum and Lizzie Fitch
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Dan Evans, Danica Evering, Alissa Firth-Eagland, Scott McGovern, Steph Yates and Shawn Van Sluys
Malmö, Sweden
Ola Stahl
Hudson, NY
Patrick Kiley and Christin Ripley
London, UK
Louisa Bailey
Rotterdam, NL
Micha Zweifel and Yin Yin Wong


This project has had me involved in many great projects with all sorts of artists, mostly as a result of their relationships with Daniel, who worked the curatorial side of the project. Now, with Daniel gone, I have decided to not only keep the project going, but to make more of an effort to be continuously produce book projects with artists and writers who I am interested in and want to engage with.


Currently, I am producing a catalog for the Colby Museum of Art of Elizabeth Atterbury‘s fantastic Currents7 show.

Check the book out here. you can order any of our books online from Publication Studio.

here are a few that we have released in the last few years that we still have in stock.

A Diary of Mysterious Difficulties, byLaura Raicovich

Stars: Even the Sun With All Its Warmth is Detached, by Anthony Campuzano

Lazer Hotel, by the Art Department

Balloon Catcher Wanted, by The Art Department

Fun Sponge, by Alex Da Corta


I’m looking forward to many more and already have a few lined up that I’m super excited about. I’ll be updating the blog as new books come up with links so you can order them and help get these great simple publications out there.


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Back From the Frozen Midwest, Into the Frozen Northeast

my parent's house in Warren Maine, from my recently acquired drone.

my parent’s house in Warren Maine, from my recently acquired drone.

Hello all, and welcome back to SnarkAttack. I haven’t posted much of late because things have been a whirlwind since about midway through my four month stint in Madison Wisconsin as Windgate Artist in Residence in the Furniture Program there. A lot has happened.

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At Long Last, a ‘Flat Rate Exchange’ Exhibition!

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Madison Windgate Fellowship Residency: Week 3

Madison is on an Isthmus, and that’s where we are. Between two lakes. Continue reading

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Madison Windgate Fellowship Residency: Week 2

With the first week of settling in and getting situated behind me, I’ve started spending more time in the studio. Classes have started and there are students around working and making things, and this is always a helpful motivator. I’m trying to make sure I don’t jump too quickly into a project, but have started by doing some fun drawings in the studio on this great big drawing board that is mounted to the wall in there. you can see it on the right in this picture…

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Madison Windgate fellowship residency: week 1

Hi Everyone. I have just finished my first week in Madison for my Windgate fellowship residency. I will be blogging weekly while I’m here, and this is the first of those posts. First of all, I always like to start with a good picture, so here is this…
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