PFW's New Executive Director, Craig Vandall Stevens (part 1)
Remember a few months ago when we said we were looking to hire an executive director? Well, we’ve done it. PFW’s first executive director ever (how exciting) is Craig Vandall Stevens. He’s got a website, very sensibly located at www.craigvandallstevens.com, and you should go to it immediately and take a look at his work. One thing you will notice is that Craig’s aesthetic is different from what we’ve had at PFW thus far, and that is an opportunity for our course offerings to expand in new directions — we’re not talking about taking away from what we’ve got; we’re talking about adding.
In fact, we’ve already got a chip carving course (www.philadelphiafurnitureworkshop.com/ChipCarvingCourse.htm) on the schedule for the fall and a Japanese andon lantern course (www.philadelphiafurnitureworkshop.com/JapaneseAndonLampCour…) has been added for the end of August. A kumiko course will be running live very soon. We’ll talk more about these new courses later posts. Let’s start by getting to know a little about Craig.
Craig was raised in Ohio and has been interested in art since he was a kid. In fact, he went to college to study art. But he grew up helping in his father’s construction work, and when his mother started a log home building business toward the end of his art school days, he took on the role of lead carpenter. As an outlet for his artistic nature, Craig taught himself chip carving during this time. It wasn’t until he met a carving teacher while on a trip in Germany that he decided on formal instruction in fine woodworking. Rather than pursuing carving, Craig now felt drawn to furniture-making, and to that end, he applied to and was accepted by the College of the Redwoods to study with James Krenov. Twenty-two students entered the one year program that year, and six were invited back for a second year. Craig was one of those six.
At CR, Craig was able to see the work of many past students, some of the work included the art of marquetry. Marquetry caught his imagination and played well with his artistic background. A fellow student at CR was a man with expertise using and caring for Japanese woodworking tools; Craig found himself drawn to these tools and techniques as well.
Craig went back to Ohio and set up his own shop upon completion of the program at CR. With no beautiful coastline or ocean waves to distract him, Craig focused on further developing his skills and his aesthetic as he built a body of work for a solo exhibition while also beginning to take on commission work.
And that is where we will leave you until the next post, in which you will find out that Craig teaches workshops in Japan! Moves to Maine! Then Pennsylvania! Then gets a job at Philadelphia Furniture Workshop!
(Oops, did I give away the ending????)