Teresa Audet: From Woodworking Student to Lifelong Learner
Issue: Issue 300
Posted Date: 5/1/2012
After graduating last year with a
degree in furniture design from the Minneapolis College of Art and
Design, Teresa Audet is now launching her own career as a woodworker.
She recently completed her first commissioned project, a walnut and
maple crib with mahogany inlay.
Designed by the client, the crib "just
got delivered this weekend," Teresa said. She also noted that
she learned a lot, including inlay, which she had never done before,
with the highly technical project. "I've been working on it for
about six months. They just had the baby, so it [delivery] is perfect
timing." The crib also helped Teresa learn about aspects of a
woodworking business: "I definitely learned a lot," she
said: "how hard it is to price yourself out, how long it took."
Teresa has also had other learning
experiences as a woodworker, including participation in an Anderson Ranch Arts Center workshop on relics, cabinets and boxes as a
Furniture Society-Powermatic® Scholarship winner. Already a member
of the Furniture Society after hearing about it at school -- she did
an assistantship at their 2010 conference held at MIT (Massachusetts
Institute of Technology) -- Teresa learned about the scholarship
opportunity from her teacher. "You had to submit between five
and 10 photos of your work and write an essay about why you wanted to
do this, why it would help your career, and why it would help you
give back to the Furniture Society."
Winning the scholarship and attending
the workshop, she said, was "really great! It was right after I
graduated from school, and it helped me keep making things after I
Teresa's original choice of an art
school was for a career goal other than woodworker: "I went to
MCAD thinking I was going to be a painter." It didn't take long,
however, for her to find her calling. Despite having taken all the
art classes she could in high school, including pottery, when she got
to college, "I took a couple of painting classes, but didn't
like it as much as I thought. Then I took furniture classes, and
loved it. It's kind of a different way of making things: that
functionality could be artistic, too."
Currently, in addition to doing her own
work, she's continuing to increase her woodworking skills through
apprenticing with woodcarver Cecelia Schiller. And she enjoys
experimenting with different materials along with wood, most recently
kozo, or Japanese paper.
"I took a couple of classes on how
to make Japanese paper, and I'm currently trying to build a
papermaking press in my basement," Teresa said. "I like
putting it in lamp shades and other little furniture pieces" --
such as her "Kurumi-Kozo" wall shelf piece.
"I'm definitely heavily influenced
by Japanese design," Teresa said. "It's just the clean
lines, and simplicity."
Overall, as a woodworker, "I like
to use more hand things and traditional techniques when I can -- but
I'm not one of those people who are anti-machine or anything."
She is, however, a woodworker who likes
to -- and plans to -- keep learning.