Photo by Expo EaseCandice Groeneke, student at College of the Redwoods, won Best of Show in the 2011 Fresh Wood Student Competition. PARKERSBURG, WV -- Woodcraft customers and Woodcraft have donated $4,260 so far to support the Fresh Wood competition founded by The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) to promote woodworking and design education programs, as well as students pursuing careers within these fields.
Woodcraft launched the project in April 2012, encouraging woodworkers and others to become partners in supporting young woodworking designer/builders by making a donation that will be matched by Woodcraft up to $10,000. Woodcraft and other industry organizations have joined together to promote Fresh Wood, which has helped vital school woodworking programs survive, thanks to the recognition received in the competition.
“Woodcraft is delighted with the initial response to our Fresh Wood Donation Project,” Woodcraft President Jody Garrett said. “Donations are still being accepted in hopes that the $10,000 goal will be reached in 2013, perhaps before the upcoming competition winners are announced in July.”
Held in conjunction with the AWFS Fair every two years, the Fresh Wood competition offers a place for students to showcase their work, be introduced to the industry as artists, designers and woodworkers, and be exposed to industry career opportunities. It is an industry-sponsored competition for serious woodworking students who are anticipating a career in the wood and related industries. The contest is open to students in North America, and there is no entry fee.
Chris Hedges, manager of the Knoxville, TN, Woodcraft store, knows firsthand about the benefits of being a competition finalist. In 2007, his reproduction of a Philadelphia secretary won three top awards: First Place in the reproduction category, post-secondary level; Best of Show Award, and the People’s Choice Award, plus a $2,500 cash prize and a Sam Maloof trophy. Hedges was featured in the Oct/Nov 2007 issue of WOODCRAFT MAGAZINE.
“Regardless of who wins or loses, you gain tremendous exposure for your work and you make a lot of friends who become a valuable networking resource,” Hedges said.
A recent graduate of the Rio Grande Community College/Rio Grande University in Rio Grande, Ohio, when he won the competition, Hedges said he is still using the networking connections he made through Fresh Wood five years later.
Deadline for entering the 2013 competition is May 15. Finalists will display their work at the AWFS Fair July 24-27 in Las Vegas, and judges will select the winners.