The Fresh Wood Student Design Competition, held at the 2013 AWFS fair in Las Vegas, featured 130 entries from 15 high schools, 21 post-secondary schools and four schools from Canada. Jurors selected 40 entries as finalists, which were exhibited on the show floor.
“The contest is really significant for students going into the industry who plan to design and build furniture or create high end millwork. We have a lot of students who’ve gotten their name out as part of the competition. They can use this as part of their portfolio or resume,” AWFS fair assistant education director Adria Torres says.
“The contest is also a really strong feature of the AWFS show. We’ve been offering it since 1999, so it’s really established at this point. It’s something people look forward to and we’re always looking for ways to grow and strengthen it and make it jazzier than the previous one.”
The Best of Show award went to Mollie Ferguson, a student at College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, Calif. Ferguson won a wood sculpture designed by Sam Maloof, a $1,200 cash prize and a Rikon 14” bandsaw. She also won first place in the post-secondary chairs category, worth $1,025 and a certificate of merit.
“The Best of Show in 2011 also went to a female from College of the Redwoods who made a chair. So this is almost a repeat. We got so many comments on this piece we knew it was a winner. From the moment we opened the crate, people were commenting on how perfect it was. Obviously it was the judges’ call, but it is a very lovely, comfortable piece that is deserving of the award. And as for the recipient, she is very humble and certainly dedicated to woodworking,” says Torres.
In total, 23 students went home with monetary prizes ranging from $425 to $1,200.
The judges were Janis Colella, a high-end furniture and millwork firm owner; Paul Epp, department chair at Ontario College of Art & Design; Green and Green-style fine furniture maker Darrell Peart; 30-year furniture industry veteran and AWFS board member Gene Valcke and high-end commercial furniture product line manager Rob Zoehfeld.
This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue.