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