Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Woodcraft Project Raises Over $6,000 for Fresh Wood

Woodcraft and its customers donated more than $6,000 in 2013 to support Fresh Wood, a student competition founded to encourage and support young woodworking designers and builders like Mollie Ferguson, a beginning furnituremaker who won two top Fresh Wood awards in July 2013.

In April 2012 Woodcraft invited customers to join the company in supporting Fresh Wood by making donations that Woodcraft would match up to $10,000, and in January 2013, Woodcraft gave Fresh Wood a check for $4,260.
“Woodcraft is pleased to be able to give Fresh Wood a larger check this year – $6,186 from 2013 donations,” Woodcraft President Jody Garrett said. “Woodcraft will continue the Fresh Wood project in 2014 in an effort to keep woodworking as a viable career choice for future generations.”

Founded by The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) in 1999 when the industry faced shortages of skilled workers, Fresh Wood promotes woodworking and design education programs, as well as students pursuing careers in these fields. Held in conjunction with the AWFS Fair every two years, the Fresh Wood competition offers a place for students to showcase their work, be introduced to the industry as artists, designers and woodworkers, and be exposed to industry career opportunities. In addition, winners take home monetary and tool awards.

“We awarded over $19,000 in prize money for Fresh Wood 2013, and thanks to Woodcraft contributions, we were able to increase all prize check amounts by over 25% per prize level. A portion of the funds was also used to offset the costs of travel and hotel allowances for the Fresh Wood finalists and their instructors attending the AWFS Fair,” Adria Torrez, AWFS assistant director of education, said.

Ferguson, who lives in Oakland, California, won the Best of Show and first place in the post-secondary chair category for her 2013 chair entry, “dulcius ex asperis.” Her awards included a wood sculpture, $2,224, a 14" Rikon bandsaw, and a certificate of merit. She entered the competition as a College of the Redwoods graduate, having completed two years of study in 2012.

Ferguson said she became interested in furnituremaking while earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. When her career path veered away from furniture design, Ferguson decided to more seriously pursue furnituremaking. Realizing that she would need more woodworking instruction, she enrolled at the College of the Redwoods.

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