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Jon Parris Intro

I am excited to say that in June 2020, I turned in my thesis paper and grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Cali­for­nia, Davis with an MFA in Design! While here, my inter­ests revolved around furni­ture and its arrange­ment in space, and how both together can affect commu­ni­ca­tion and hier­ar­chies, and poten­tially beget control, or prefer­ably, equal­ity. I am intrigued by the juxta­po­si­tion between exam­ples like the Camden bench in London, which limits how a user can behave in public space compared to the arrange­ment of benches in a Quaker worship hall, which are placed in an ever-widen­ing square that belies a singu­lar (pulpit) focus and its concomitant authority. 

I came to this inter­est due to my back­ground as a furni­ture designer and wood­worker. Before my MFA, I was a profes­sional craftsper­son oper­at­ing the small studio, FT-FC, in Santa Cruz, Cali­for­nia. I made tables, chairs, benches and small home­ware prod­ucts for clients across Cali­for­nia. FT-FC grew out of my time study­ing at the Krenov School, a renowned fine furni­ture program in Fort Bragg, Cali­for­nia. While there I devel­oped a deep appre­ci­a­tion for working with my hands, wood, and a few good tools. This hasn’t changed over the years, and my thesis reflects that: I have been working on specialty furni­ture for restora­tive justice spaces with the hope of promot­ing comfort and trust during hard and vulnerable conversations.

Davis, CA