At the Furniture Society Conference

The Furniture Society, in conjunction with the Center for Art in Wood, held their FS16 Craft/Facturing Conference at UArts in Philadelphia, June 23-25. The festivities ended just last night with dinner, live music, and dancing! To prepare for the event, on Wednesday we moved our tools, projects, and equipment to a secondary workshop down the hall, freeing up bench space for FS demonstrations.

During the conference, we presented our collaborative concept/project for one of the panel sessions. Using multiple images of two pieces, Ashley created a Powerpoint presentation to illustrate how the work progressed as each artist responded to the words selected. From a scholarly point of view, Ashley discussed the conceptual origins of  artistic collaborations (think exquisite corpse), and then Katie described the progression of the pieces.

IMG_0281 copyLeft to right, Rebecca, Michaela, Amy, Nuch, Katie, Ashley. Katie Hudnall is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Furniture Society.

Our collaborative projects, works-in-progress.

One of the many enjoyable events of the FS2016 was Thursday night’s gallery crawl, which featured a book signing at the Center for Art in Wood, showcasing their current exhibit, “On the Edge of Your Seat.” The accompanying book, On the Edge of Your Seat, is a full-color, large-format hardback volume that can be purchased from the CAW’s website: (While there, become a member and help support the Center’s many wood-related programs!)

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At the Center, Ashley Ericksmoen talks with Gord Peteran, professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto.

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Wendy Maruyama and Albert LeCoff (Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Art in Wood). Wendy recently retired from, “a storied career of teaching at San Diego State University.” Her innovative work is represented in the permanent collections of numerous national and international museums. Many of her former students attended the conference and were also presenters. Maruyama’s legacy is vast!

Clockwise from top left: Michaela Stone and Tina LeCoff (facilitator extraordinaire and wife of Albert LeCoff). Michaela signs her page in the book and Amy Forsyth signs hers.

Top row: Don Miller, (Wood Coordinator, Associate Professor at UArts) talks with Gord Peteran. BA Harrington (Director of the Wood Center, Indiana University Pennsylvania) and Peter Park, an international (South Korea) artist. Middle row: RH Lee (Manager at Offerman Woodshop, Los Angeles), Laura Zahn (Owner/Manager of Off the Saw and an instructor at California State University, Long Beach), and Addie Metivier (student of furniture design at Bucks County Community College). Bottom photo, Michaela Stone with Michael Puryear, furnituremaker.

IMG_0210 copyThroughout FS2016, a film crew from the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) recorded events and will make available a short video of conference highlights. One crew member visited our workshop to film Nuch working. To learn more about the IWCS, watch videos of their World Wood Day celebrations, and explore the the many wood-related events they record and help sponsor, visit their website,

As did the other Windgate ITE Fellows, I attended several panel discussions, awards ceremonies, and keynote talks. These intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking sessions were a welcome opportunity to learn about various artists’ work, their thought processes, achievements, failures, and personalities. Occasionally an audience member would ask a process-related question, but for the most part, the attendees seemed to appreciate relegating those topics to the wood studio. Through his words and images, I learned that after an uncertain and unpromising beginning to his career, Wendell Castle eventually boldly followed his own individual path, a message that resonated. He stressed the importance of having passions outside of furnituremaking: His are collecting antique roadsters, playing tennis, and learning to make music. Music ranks at the top.

Sarah Marriage, furnituremaker, is in the early stages of creating “A Workshop of Our Own,” a cooperative workshop for women furnituremakers, which will also offer woodworking classes. Learning about this project will lead me to dig deeper to research and write an article to share her story with others. When women acquire woodworking skills, they also learn it’s possible to create, manipulate, and change their world. Empowering!

Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist







Echo Lake Collaborative

As if we needed MORE collaborative experiences, we headed to Bucks County Community College (BCCC) for the three-day, intense, Echo Lake Collaboration XVIII. Not only is their wood studio spacious and well maintained, the other facilities at BCCC are ideal for working beyond wood: metal, jewelry, printmaking, glass.

….. first, though, was the traditional pre-Echo Lake luncheon on Wednesday at The Center for Art in Wood (CAW) where we met with a few past and future Windgate ITE Fellows, CAW staff and Directors, and friends/colleagues.

It was fun to see friends and meet new ones. In the first photo (top left), at the table to the left, Albert LeCoff sits at the end (or better yet, at the head of the table). On his right is Darrell Copeland, a 2012 Windgate ITE Fellow. At the end of the other table, Rex Kaleoff (2015) talks with Ashley (black shirt). In the second photo, Amy (pink shirt) sits across from Melissa Engler and Graeme Priddle (2000 Fellow). Third photo, Nuch sits next to Daniel Fishkin who will be one of the 2017 Windgate ITE Fellow Artists.

Clockwise from top left: Katie and Michaela shared a workbench. Second photo: Michaela had a delightful time with Ramona, envisioning, making, assembling and painting this sculpture’s girl parts (Ed Kelle photo), and then explaining Ramona to others! Third photo: Ashley began assembling a handful of the many turned objects from the resource tables to create her own version of “multi-axis” object — she’s obviously thinking beyond woodturners’ usual definition of “multi-axis” …  The resource tables held an amazing array of weird, crazy, plain, delightful objects from which to create sculpture, such as the vent cover for Romona’s skirt (and check out her Maryjane shoes). The background in these photos provides a glimpse of the wood studio.

Left to right: Former Windgate ITE Fellows from 2011, Beth Ireland and Kimberly Winkle. Last photo is a CAW’s Director, Suzanne Bonsall Kahn, who made and collaborated on a large chair. (Ed Kelle photos.)

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Nuch collaborated with Beth Ireland and Gabe Infante on an instrument. Love the pyrography, Nuch! (Ed Kelle photo.)

First photo: Katie Hudnall’s bandsaw box, individual smaller boxes embellished by Amy Forsyth, Kimberly Winkle, and me (Betty Scarpino). Second photo: some of the actual blocks from the collaborative print project, frame embellished by Kimberly Winkle. Third photo: One of the framed prints from the block-printing collaborative. Katie painted and then drew on the frame.

We “bunked” at Amy Forsyth’s home (thank you Amy!) and returned to Philadelphia Sunday night, tired, but in many ways inspired by the free-spirited creativity at Echo Lake Collaborative. A huge thank-you to the organizers of the event and to Bucks County Community College for hosting the collaborative. A shout-out to Joe Seltzer for his ongoing, dedicated, volunteer work on behalf of Echo Lake Collaborative!

— Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist




While I was away, they continued to play …

I flew to Atlanta over the weekend to attend the American Association of Woodturner’s 30th International Symposium, and (not surprisingly) while I was away, the other residents were highly productive and creative!

After considerable thought (and playfulness) about how to interpret crunch, Ashley crunched an apple between two pyramids. I’m guessing that wooden apple is crunchy, too!  Working on other collaborations, Rebecca burned a design; Katie constructed a tower. Photos by Amy Forsyth.

IMG_0140 copyApple painted gold, scaffolding added by Katie, initial words burned into the wood by Michaela revealed … Amy is next and is considering how to interpret her word: myth.


IMG_0131 copyWe are using the wood studio on the 4th floor of the UArts studio building, which is across Broad Street from another section of the UArts campus. To the left, behind the building with the red banners is our residence hall. Several blocks to the right is city center.  Photo by Amy Forsyth.


I would not have recognized this collaboration, if not for that bandaid! Michaela is working on it now.


IMG_0162 copyI’m the last to work on this collaboration; my word is reunion.  I began with reuniting part of the flower form with its underlying natural-color wood. The final collaborator will also add finishing touches.

This will be a short work week — Echo Lake collaborative at Bucks County Community College begins Wednesday. We will have lunch at The Center for Art in Wood, then join the other Echo Lake participants for opening activities.

–Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist

Collaborative Project — First Steps

Seven wood artists, seven blocks of basswood, dozens of words, a shop full of machines, tools, and supplies, a deadline for the Windgate ITE Residents to finish a collaborative project for the upcoming Furniture Society Conference at UArts  …. combine those ingredients to make shavings, paint, and texture!

Here’s the process: 1) Each artist wrote ten words on individual slips of paper and put them into a box. 2) We cut up a large slab of basswood into seven pieces. 3) Each artist randomly selected a word to use as inspiration and began working on her chunk of wood. Number 1 was written onto the paper, along with the artists’ initials. 4) Each artist will eventually work on all the pieces, each time using a new word, selected at random.


Nucharin Wangphongsawasd, Amy Forsyth, Michaela Crie Stone, Katie Hudnall … concentration!

Ashley Eriksomen started with “fixed” and made a bandaid to repair the cut wood …. things progressed from there.

Bisect (Amy), Organize (Nuch), Rebirth (Michaela), and Folklore (Ashley), with Katie working on Orbit.

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This drawing by Amy Forsyth is her creative way of recording life’s events.

June 8 was an excellent day. This collaborative project is an effective method of becoming acquainted with our new work environment and getting our creative juices flowing!  –Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist




Orientation to Wood Studio

Except for scholar, Merryll Saylan who will join us in July, the 2016 Windgate ITE residents are settling into the University of the Arts wood studio. Added to the mix is UArts student Rebecca Kolodziejczak. Welcome Rebecca!

Today we will unpack tools and supplies we brought with and start to work. The machines await our use ….. including a pink bandsaw!


Indeed, a “work in progress!”


Shop Supervisor Tara Inman-Bellofatto, who oversees this tidy space and all who enter and work here, also maintains the machines so they are in excellent working condition. Her professional, positive orientation comments made us feel welcome.


The workbench rooms won’t look like this for very long.



Clamps in the corner and all our subjects lined up, ready for use.


The pink bandsaw!

Now I’m headed to the shop to stow MY tools and supplies. –Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist