Five students of furniture design will receive 2012 Furniture Society-Powermatic Student Workshop Scholarships. Kudos to Powermatic and the Society for their continued support of education - especially this area where creative and wood and related industrial construction cross over.

The fact that these workshop scholarships have received continued support through the lean times is particularly admirable. Up to $3,000 covers travel and tuition in one- to eight-week workshops.

The significance of nurturing creativity in wood design is really clear as recovery takes hold across multiple segments of the wood industry. Hands-on education in innovative design is just as important as innovation in manufacturing. Powermatic, producing stationary woodworking machinery, is in touch with both sides of the equation.

2012 scholarship recipients show the variety of areas of study:

• Bradley Wolcott, Brookline, MA who attends North Bennet Street School, will participate in a workshop on finishing a-z at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport, ME.
• Vincent Edwards, Bloomington, IN, who attends Herron School of Art & Design, will participate in a workshop on advanced woodworking: tables and benches at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO. Also at Anderson Ranch, Brendon Taylor, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, Sheridan College will attend a workshop on metal furniture.
• Sophie Glenn, New York, NY, a student at Purchase College will attend a workshop on fundamentals of boat building at Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC. 
• Nathaniel Chambers, Clyde, NC, a student at Haywood Community College will take a workshop on making connections/basketry at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME.

“Some of these students will go on to head their own independent workshops, while others will become designers and executives in the furniture industry,” noted Barry Schwaiger, Powermatic director of product development, in announcing the winners.

Students at Brooklyn Tech High School who might be interested in woodworking may be a little less fortunate. In a move rife with irony, the New York City Department of Education spent $600,000 and hired D&K Construction to convert its wood shop - unused - into a beautifully wood paneled mock courtroom.

Students will get trained for careers in law - but not in custom woodworking skills that made the conversion possible. The Gordian Group that oversaw the Job Order Contracting says its approach to managing the project allowed design and demolition work to occur simultaneously.

It's a pity if the students weren't allowed to participate - particularly those majoring in Brooklyn Tech's Architectural Engineering program - where hand-built building models and use of shop tools are part of the program. 

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