Jun 05, 2023

Intricate woodworking on display

Photo by Jennifer Weaver

People chat as they examine the different pieces of furniture.


From a hard brasswood sculpture, to a loveseat made of southern oak gifted by a son from across the country, or a sideboard made of Pennsylvania cherry by a woodworker and musician, these are some of the one-of-a-kind items with countless hours poured into them that will be on display this Saturday.

The Art of Fine Furniture 2023: Making Connections gallery opens at the Winona County Historical Society (WCHS) on June 3 with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. This exhibit will be open to the public for free until August 5.

Established in 2013, this annual exhibit features professional and hobbyist woodworkers from the region. Sponsored by WNB Financial and Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, this year's exhibit is focused on joinery, building on last year's lumber focus. TiAnna DeGarmo, the community curator, plans to continue educating people on woodworking and breaking down barriers with the exhibit.

The Art of Fine Furniture gallery has nothing roped off or off limits. DeGarmo said this is to encourage attendees to fully explore and interact with the pieces. "They are allowed to touch it, get on their hands and knees, explore it, take pictures of it, open doors, drawers, and get a good feel for how it's done," DeGarmo said. Many people visiting the gallery are genuinely curious, and barriers prevent people from getting up close and personal with the work, according to DeGarmo.

In conjunction with that, DeGarmo wants to make the art and artists approachable and not make the gallery an intimidating "hoity toity" event. "It should be an exciting and enjoyable experience for everyone involved," DeGarmo stated.

DeGarmo talked about her goals, "I truly have a passion for building community in and around the work that I do. I teach classes. I have brought together various woodworking groups because my goal is to create a common goal of exposure and education around the field of woodworking especially for women, and especially for underrepresented people in the community. There are still a lot of white males dominating this field."

With 11 years of studio furniture making experience, DeGarmo knows how isolating it can be. A big part of the exhibit is not only connecting artisans with the public and potential clients, but also other artisans.

"We don't get out and get a chance to spend time with other people who geek out on all the same things that we do, or who are willing to listen to us geek out ad nauseam about this piece that we made," DeGarmo said. "And so it's just super fun for the artisans to get together and meet one another."

As community curator, DeGarmo brings together woodworkers from the region for the exhibit. This year features 13 exhibitors with a few new faces. DeGarmo noted chair and lamp pieces are popular this year, but Roger Knudson returns with his extremely unique furniture. His piece this year, titled "Bow Tie Chair, Inappropriate Dress," is a wooden sculpture of a torso and legs sitting on a chair dressed up in orange Converse shoes, plaid shorts, a formal suit jacket and button up with a big red bow tie to top it off.

"[Knudson] does not care about what anyone thinks, or he's not trying to sell it. He's just doing it purely for fun," DeGarmo said. "And he likes to collaborate with other artisans, you know, painters or textile weavers or whatever, and create these pieces that really aren't even something you can use or sit on but it is technically furniture."

DeGarmo talked about the experience of creating studio furniture, stating, "Not to get all …philosophical but it's truly a soulful experience." DeGarmo went on to talk about how special the experience of bringing an idea to life is and having "​​a tangible, tactile relationship with the work that you do." This energy also translates to owning studio furniture, according to DeGarmo.

"I swear that each piece has its own energy to it. It's not the sort of plastic out of the box thing that is just sort of soulless and lifeless sitting in the corner of your home," DeGarmo said. "There is something unique about filling your home with one of a kind work made by artisans, especially if you've gotten the chance to know that artist and know their story. It's just different, it creates a different atmosphere in your home."

[email protected]

Sorry, there are no recent results for popular videos.

Sorry, there are no recent results for popular commented articles.