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Boston woodworking student honored with $1,000 scholarship

Grant Burger, a student at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, is the recipient of the Alden Artisan Advancement Award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship toward the development and promotion of his rocking settee design. 

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The annual award is bestowed by the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association in conjunction with the American Furniture Makers Institute, its non-profit arm. It was created to support an aspiring student or apprentice in furthering his or her career as a professional furniture designer/maker.

Burger is originally from Warren, Ohio, and is currently living in Somerville, Mass. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He learned about the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association through his mentor, Matt Wajda, a North Bennet Street School alumni, and his department instructor Dan Faia encouraged him to apply for the award.

“I had the design idea for the rocking settee after doing similar single rockers. This is a piece of furniture that I’ve wanted to build for a very long time. I have been inspired by the work of the American Shakers since I first became interested in woodworking. My idea is to combine the building techniques of the Shakers with the capabilities of modern woodworkers. Specifically, the ability to sculpt and shape wood more efficiently,” Burger says.

Burger states that his design goal was to have a comfortable rocking seat that can be shared between loved ones. It will be constructed using turned and shaped posts, bent laminated and shaped rockers, shaped ladderback slats and crest rail, and a slip seat upholstered with leather.

New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association member Greg Brown of Bedford, N.H., originated the idea of the Alden Award and named it in honor of his grandfather Alden Hobart. At 33, Brown is currently the youngest association member and is eager to assist other emerging artists.

“The [New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association] are all about preserving the art of fine-furniture making for the next generation. Each of the [members] has learned skills from their own mentors and reach out a hand to instruct others. I have benefited enormously through the critical review of my work, learned about how to market my furniture and gained experience in connecting with patrons at our exhibits. I proposed the Alden Award to offer that same opportunity to other makers and I am delighted Grant Burger will share this experience as he begins his own furniture making career,” Brown says.

Burger’s settee will be exhibited at the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association’s annual exhibit next fall.

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This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue.

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