PARKERSBURG, W. VA. — In 2013, Woodcraft and its customers donated more than $6,000 to support Fresh Wood, a student competition founded to encourage and support young woodworking designers and builders.
Woodcraft first invited customers to join in supporting Fresh Wood in April 2012 by matching donations of up to $10,000. In January 2013, Woodcraft gave Fresh Wood a check for $4,260.
“Woodcraft is pleased to be able to give Fresh Wood a larger check this year,” President Jody Garrett said.
Donations in 2013 totaled $6,186. The company plans to continue the Fresh Wood project in 2014 in an effort to keep woodworking as a viable career choice for future generations.
The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers created Fresh Wood in 1999 when the industry faced shortages of skilled workers. Fresh Wood promotes woodworking and design education programs while also encouraging students to pursue careers in these fields. Held in conjunction with the AWFS Fair every two years, the Fresh Wood competition offers a place for students to showcase their work, discover the industry as designers and woodworkers, and learn about industry career opportunities.
Fresh Wood 2013 winners received more than $19,000 in prize money. With the contributions from Woodcraft, Fresh Wood was able to increase all prize check amounts by over 25%.
Participants like Mollie Ferguson, who won the Best of Show and first place in the post-secondary chair category for her 2013 chair entry, view the Fresh Wood competition as a good opportunity to gain exposure, equipment, and funds to get started. Ferguson’s awards included a wood sculpture, a check for $2,224, a 14" Rikon bandsaw, and a certificate of merit. She entered the competition as a College of the Redwoods graduate, having completed two years of study in 2012.
“Right now I'm living in the Bay Area, and I have a shared shop,” Ferguson said. “I am trying to find my way into the furniture market here. So far things have been a bit quiet. But I do have to say that I have gotten a fair amount of press and I did meet several people in the industry at the show. I hope that the attention that I have gotten from participating will eventually equal possible furniture work.”
Visit woodcraft.com to contribute to the Woodcraft Fresh Wood project.