Collaboration

Greetings fellow inhabitants of the blogoshpere! While I have read many a blog, this is the first time I have posted anything on one. This is an exciting new step for our guild, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves, what our members post, and who we connect with through comments along the way.

So what to post, where to go with this. Do I show you a recently completed piece? A new design on the drawing board? Scenes from inside my shop?… Well my website is almost three years out of date (yikes!). I have a lot of new work made since then that I need to get onto my site. Some of those more recent pieces are posted on my section of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers’ site. As I type this, my site is undergoing a complete redesign, that will be setup so I can easily add and update all sections of it. Stay tuned, I will post an announcement when it’s ready to launch.

So since my site is so out of date, I’d like to share some work I have been doing in a new direction over the past couple years. I have been collaborating with a sculptor here in Vermont named Kerry O. Furlani. These have been occasional furniture pieces in between our own individual work. Kerry’s specialty is stone. She was trained in England in traditional stone carving techniques, and while she has carved all types of stone, lately she has been exploring Vermont slate. She does all of her carving entirely by hand, with a mallet and small stone chisels. No grinders, sanders or pneumatic tools. She has a real sensitivity to line and form, and her entirely by-hand approach allows that to really show in the details.

Collaboration is an interesting process. It is a give and take, and requires a certain openness by everyone involved. It’s kind of like stepping into the unknown. Venturing into uncharted waters. Letting go of the safety and predictability of my own work and techniques, and the familiarity of my medium, and allowing this other completely different medium, and another artist into the process. Collaboration works best if you leave your expectations at the door, and just dive in and be open to seeing where it will take you. From a creative standpoint, it can be liberating, enlightening, incredibly inspiring, and push you to think about and explore concepts you might not otherwise have ever tried. But the one thing that really makes it work is when the other person is also very open to the process, is on a similar wavelength, and shares a somewhat similar aesthetic. In our collaboration, Kerry has brought all of that and more to the process. We share a similar sense of form – organic, contemporary, sensual, and contrasting textures with smooth, refined areas. It has been a really fun process, and we have made designs together that we never would have come up with on our own. So far, we have made five speculative pieces together, plus one commissioned piece for a corporate client.

So far, the fruits of our collaboration work have been well received. Our first piece was published in five major periodicals around the country, and purchased for a beach house right on the ocean in NJ. That piece (an end table), and our most recent piece (a hall table) will also be featured in a new book called 500 Tables, by Lark Books, due out this summer. We also just sold a piece through a gallery in the Boston area… My new website will have a section featuring all of our collaborative work, so for now, I’ll post our most recent piece here. Thanks for reading and please check out my website: http://www.davidhurwitzoriginals.com

Tree of Life Hall Table, hand carved Vermont green slate, curly cherry top, cherry sides and base, 36” H x 48” W x 11” D.


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3 thoughts on “Collaboration

  1. Josh Metcalf

    Really nice, David. I rattle around like a pea in a coffee can in my shop, so I’m jealous of (but also inspired by) your collaborative process. Its success is very evident in the photos. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing examples in person at our group shows.

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  2. Dorset Custom Furniture

    I second Josh’s comment … Nice thoughts David … Nicely expressed … I have always tried to think of my clients as my collaborators. Often they have ideas that take me in directions I might never have explored on my own … Someitmes it’s easy; sometimes it’s more challenging but I ponder often a quote someone laid on me somewhere along the line .. “All of us are smarter than one of us.”

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  3. Erin Sheridan

    Well I finally found the blog! You had told me about this before, but I never had the chance to check it out. Great idea! Businesses and organizations are really using this tool for great purposes. You need to post a link to the blog on the Guild website. I had to do a google search to find it. Keep up the good work!

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