Chippendale School students learn wood veneering

Monday 25 March 2013

Scott Grove, student Euan Goodman and Anselm Fraser with veneer of a face by Euan

Scott Grove, student Euan Goodman and Anselm Fraser with veneer of a face by Euan

New York artist visits the Chippendale International School of Furniture

Scott Grove, an award-winning New York artist, sculptor and woodworker, has just delivered an inspiring, week long veneering course to the 20 students at the Chippendale International School of Furniture near Edinburgh. This was his first ever course at a UK furniture making school.

"The fine furniture the students produce at the Chippendale International School of Furniture is impressive," Scott says. "They acquire a wide variety of woodworking skills in a short period of time. Not only do they learn design, traditional and current cabinet making techniques, business and marketing methods, but the founder, Anselm Fraser, takes a personal interest in their future after they leave the school. With one-on-one discussions Anselm helps guide them towards future success. It's a wonderfully creative stew. I was honoured to share my methods with these craftsmen of tomorrow."

"We engaged Scott Grove from New York to run our first ever, week-long session on advanced veneering for the students on our intensive 30 week furniture design course; we had been bowled over by the photos of his veneers and furniture art. Boy, did he exceed our expectations. His enthusiastic delivery and sense of humour had the students eating out of his hand. He was generous in sharing his advanced knowledge of the subject and the new techniques he has developed. We consider ourselves honoured to have had him working with us and will certainly be inviting him back."

Scott Grove has a workshop in New York and is a third generation artist who specialises in wood veneers. He designs and creates furniture, sculpture, architectural reproductions, interiors, films, and other art using multiple media and many disciplines. Art furniture is his genre and his eclectic work is known for its layers of artistic expression, sophistication, elegance and a 'touch of whimsy'.

He has won the Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge Award on an unprecedented two occasions. He has also won a prestigious Napkin Sketch Award from the American Institute of Architects and a DuPont Award for Innovative Use of Material. Scott is the author of Advanced Veneering and Alternative Techniques, which highlights some of his innovative veneering practices.

Scott has taught veneering at three furniture schools in the United States, including Marc Adams School of Woodworking and Yestermorrow Design/Build School, but this is the first time he has taught in the UK. Scott was attracted to the Chippendale International School of Furniture by the School's reputation, and wanted to check out what was happening in cabinet making across the pond.

Self-taught in veneering, he had to figure out the art for himself and has developed some alternative 'advanced veneering' techniques as a result of his different perspective. One of his unconventional methods is a wavy contoured approach to joining pieces of wood veneer, resulting in seamless, nearly invisible joints. This technique has only been taught to roughly 100 students around the world and ensures the focus is on the wood and its grain.

"I believe that as an artist you should have some personal expression in your work," Scott says. "My work is all about discovering inner beauty. If you're commissioning a piece, I'll sit down with the client to understand what they believe in, to find out his or her passions. These themes are then woven into the final design so that the piece is very personal and means much more."

Another alternative approach is his asymmetrical matching: typically veneer is book matched, much like pages of a book, where the leaves of veneer are matched and mirrored on a common seam. "This is how veneer has been seamed for ages," Scott adds.

With his creative eye, Scott has developed a technique that allows craftsmen to be more expressive and create designs such as hearts, spirals and even faces that look like part of the natural wood grain.

His latest innovation is a compound veneering technique where he can veneer over the body shape of a model to create striking wood veneer sculptures. This approach will be the centrepiece of an ambitious new artistic venture in which he has celebrities in his sights.

You can find out more at www.scottgrove.com and www.chippendale.co.uk

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE CHIPPENDALE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF FURNITURE