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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. This is the capstone of over ten years of profes­sional prac­tice in furni­ture design and making. My journey as a wood­worker began at The Krenov School in Fort Bragg, Cali­for­nia. After two years at TKS learn­ing about joinery, wood, tools, and machines, I started my own studio, Full Tables Full Chairs, which was inspired by the idea that furni­ture is more than just an aesthetic or craft — it is a vehicle for expe­ri­enc­ing and communing with others as we sit, talk, eat and relax. 

This commu­nal concept of furni­ture informed my research at UC Davis as I analyzed furni­ture as a social and struc­tural object, ie. how furni­ture and its arrange­ment in space can affect hier­ar­chies and injus­tice or equity and under­stand­ing. The spaces I studied included court­rooms, class­rooms, and hostile archi­tec­tures, eg. the Camden bench in London, which, with its irreg­u­lar curves and uneven profiles, elim­i­nated unwanted” behav­iors (like sleep­ing and loiter­ing) and thusly dictated to the public precon­ceived ideolo­gies of appro­pri­ate ways of being. In response to this public object, I imag­ined a context for furni­ture that promotes open­ness and connec­tion, which led me to design seating forms for restora­tive justice circles, a process in which an offender, victim, fami­lies, and commu­ni­ties can seek to resolve harms outside of our crim­i­nal justice system. 

Over the course of my MFA, I made two differ­ent forms that respond to the myriad needs, inten­tions, and prin­ci­ples of restora­tive justice circles. The end goal of my furni­ture is to enable feel­ings of trust, safety and comfort, which can promote oppor­tu­ni­ties for increased vulner­a­bil­ity and open­ness in the midst of often diffi­cult, hard and emotional conversations.

Going forward, I intend to continue research­ing and build­ing furni­ture in socially and relationally-oriented ways.

Davis, CA