Five Students Earn Furniture Making Scholarships


We just got word that the 2011 Furniture Society just released their list of Powermatic scholarships to five furniture-making students.

The future of fine furniture-making in North America clearly rests in the hands of today’s most creative students of this time-honored craft. That’s why the 2011 Furniture Society-Powermatic Student Workshop Scholarships have been awarded to enrich the hands-on education of five talented students of furniture design.

The competitive scholarships are sponsored annually by Powermatic, a world-class leader of stationary woodworking equipment, in partnership with The Furniture Society, based in Ashville, NC. Each 2011 scholarship recipient is given up to $3,000 to attend a specific one-, two- or eight-week workshop offered by schools participating in the program. The scholarships cover tuition, housing, on-campus meals and a travel stipend.

“These annual scholarships are about encouraging young people who will become future leaders in the craft of furniture making,” said Barry Schwaiger, Powermatic’s product manager and executive member of the scholarship selection committee. “Some will go on to head their own independent workshops, which have become the style leaders in furniture design. Others will become designers and executives in the furniture industry.”



“Educational opportunities in furniture-making are better now than ever,” said Alfred Sharp, president of The Furniture Society. “Independent schools of craft offer many specific courses and workshops in addition to those available at colleges and universities. However, some of the most innovative students need financial help to pursue the best programs.”

Each year, faculty members of colleges and universities that offer furniture-making curricula encourage promising students to apply for the Furniture Society-Powermatic scholarships. As part of the application process, students and their mentors request specific programs to advance the students’ development.

Scholarship recipients were selected by a committee consisting of John Dennison, Furniture Society board member, North Saanich, BC; Barry Schwaiger from Powermatic, LaVergne, TN; and Miguel Gomez-Ibanez, former Furniture Society president, Boston, MA. 2011 scholarship recipients are:
Theresa Audet, Minneapolis, MN, who attends Minneapolis College of Art and Design, studying with Dean Wilson, participated in a workshop on relics, cabinets and boxes at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass, CO.
Gill Benzion, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, a student of Peter Fleming, Sheraton College, Ontario, attended a workshop on steam bending wood for furniture at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME.
Juan Pablo Blanco, Newton, MA, who attends North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA, studying with Daniel Faia, participated in a workshop on chair design at Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC.
Joanna Ginsberg, White Plains, NY, who attends Purchase College, State University of New York, studying with Dennis Fitzgerald, learned intermediate furniture making at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport, ME.

Eleanor Richards, Tempe, AZ, a student at Arizona State University, working with Tom Eckert, attended Penland School of Crafts in a workshop on containers, cabinets and case pieces.
“Right now, we are living through one of the most important periods of high quality furniture design and fermentation of innovative ideas,” Sharp concluded. “A significant amount of furniture is made overseas today, but the brain trust is still in the United States and Canada. That’s an important reason why the Furniture Society-Powermatic Student Workshop Scholarships are a sound investment in the advancement of American furniture-making.”

Congratulations to all the winners!

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  • Kasey Whelton
    9 Dec ’11 at 8:36 am

    Ooo, I live very near Asheville. The furniture business here is hurting, so it’s great to see a company working to revive it. I think someone had a case of word dyslexia when they typed this article’s headline. Made me smile :o)

  • Built by Kids
    9 Dec ’11 at 9:13 am

    Thanks Kasey – we also hope the furniture business rebounds and we get more students involved.

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    29 Mar ’13 at 12:22 am

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