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Curriculum

Course descriptions

From Concept to Object: Processes for Furniture Design (3 credits, at MassArt) This class provides students with the elements necessary to transform an idea into a project. Fusing design activities and methodologies, including aesthetic sourcing (visual, literary, emotional, and structural), drawing and modeling, students engage in design as a problem solving process. Repeated redefinition of an idea into an object pushes students to evolve as makers while building creative content for future work. Projects emphasize conceptual visualization through exploration of two and three dimensional sketch techniques. The course focuses on capturing and developing ideas using a sketchbook or folder system that will be used throughout the certificate program. Each student's sketchbook or documentation is intended to provide expressive content indicative of personal aesthetic interests and voice and to provide material for projects, beginning with the first design class in semester two.

Survey of the Development of Modern Furniture (3 credits, at MassArt) This survey provides an overview of the history of furniture making in America, looking at the craft and form of furniture over the past 250 years. We examine current trends in contemporary furniture design and manufacture, the current field of furniture, and an understanding of its historical evolution. Furniture will be considered as an element of social and economic development. Exploration of the development of furniture relative to both the domestic market and public sphere will frame the social role of furniture in our culture. We cover the development of styles and their sources; the evolution and organization of furniture manufacture, from early joinery to the emergence of cabinetmaking techniques; the development of machine technologies, and the re-emergence of craft within the studio furniture movement; the emergence of hybrid manufacturing and the impact of the effects of globalization on the craft and industry of furniture making.

Advanced Techniques for Furniture Making (3 credits, at North Bennet Street School) Advanced Techniques for Furniture Making exposes the students to a variety of more specialized techniques that can be applied to furniture production. Sessions explore the basics of select special skills, with of the objective of giving students enough exposure to begin applying these techniques independently to their studio projects. Areas of study may include turning, veneering, vacuum pressing, casework techniques, laminating, chairmaking techniques, upholstery, caning and marquetry, and carved molding.

The Art of Furniture Design I & II: Fundamentals of Design and Construction (3 credits each, at MassArt) In these two courses, students initiate and are guided through a hands-on design/build project based on fundamental tenets of furniture design. Students come to the first class with work from EDID 200 From Concept to Object, to use as the basis for their project. This studio shop course begins with a review of design fundamentals and the concept design process. If necessary, concepts are refined through additional drawings and maquette model making as preparation for the concluding phase: completion of the final product. This class is also be open to students outside of the certificate program who have experience in basic hand tool use and maintenance as well as a comfort level for work in standing machine power tools.

Intermediate Furniture Design: Pre-Capstone Studio (3 credits, at MassArt) Students begin to focus on a specific area of furniture design such as prototyping of a mass production concept, developing a limited production run, or building a one-of-a-kind piece. Emphasis is placed on efficient use of time and materials to successfully complete an original design. Students will prepare schematic and working drawings, cost estimates based on a liveable wage, and completion schedules for their work with the goal of developing the ability and confidence to deal with real-world commission situations. By permission only.

Furniture Design Capstone (3 credits, at MassArt) This is the culmination of a five semester concentration on the development of studio furniture. Students are required to produce a significant work of merit--a furniture suite, or a series of pieces--in order to successfully complete the capstone course. The expectation is for the student to produce work which is a cohesive representation of his or her individual aesthetic voice and vision. As such, the final work will be the defining element of the emerging artist portfolio as the student moves into professional practice.

Professional Practice for Furniture Design (2 credits, at North Bennet Street School) This is a seminar addressing business issues important to an artist practicing as a professional furniture maker. Sessions will include topics such as the fundamentals of pricing work, basics of opening and running a small business including, interview techniques, resume development, portfolio and website development, gallery contacts, networking, insurance, and resource organizations and publications.