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Aspen Golann wins Mineck Furniture Fellowship

Aspen Golann and an example of her work, a comb back Windsor chair.

Aspen Golann and an example of her work, a comb back Windsor chair.

The Society of Arts+Crafts in Boston has selected Aspen Golann from 48 entries as the 2020 recipient of the John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship. Awarded annually to support an aspiring furniture artist, the fellowship includes an unrestricted $25,000 prize.


Born and raised in Newton, Mass., Golann has a degree in Carpentry & Furniture from the North Bennet Street School in Boston and currently lives in North Carolina, where she is the Wood Coordinator at The Penland School of Craft.

Inspired by the craft of 17th- and 18th-century furniture makers, Golann uses traditional forms and techniques, while giving her pieces subtle, contemporary twists she calls “interventions.” She says her work examines gender and power through classic American decorative arts.

“I never expected to fall in love with antique furniture,” Golann says. She adds that her education at NBSS and mentoring from New Hampshire chair maker Peter Galbert led her to recognize the beauty of the work and inspired her application to the Mineck Fellowship.

Golann plans to dedicate her fellowship funds to learning, teaching, and tool purchases. Her time will be divided among pursuing mentorship in the craft of Windsor-style chairmaking, sharing expertise by teaching workshops across the country in places where the craft is not traditionally taught, and creating a network to purchase and share woodworking tools among fellow early-career furniture makers.

Golann wants to foster community among those considered outsiders in the field by increasing access for woodworkers who are women, and those who are non-gender binary and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color).

“Aspen intends to share a significant portion of her award proceeds to ‘pay it forward’ and enhance the careers of many additional early-career makers,” says Brigitte Martin, the society’s executive director. “Her generosity of spirit mirrors the Mineck Foundation’s intentions; and it set her application apart from an equally impressive pool of highly-skilled and worthy applicants. The Society of Arts Crafts is delighted for Aspen to receive this prestigious award and we wish her much success in her Fellowship year.”

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This article was originally published in the November 2020 issue.

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