My thesis body of work will investigate techniques and processes that can yield forms that are in harmony and sympathetic with forms and relationships found in nature. Using wood as my primary material, I will create a body of work that draws inspiration from trees, the way they grow, and the ways in which patterns can emerge from a tree when dissected in different ways. To achieve this I will explore techniques such as coopering in order to create shells that mimic the cambium layer of a tree or how a ripple in a surface makes visual reference to the way that curly grain appears on the face of hand split firewood. Another example would be how a table edge can be shaped similarly to the way that grain undulates or the leg of a chair can transition into the back splat with the same elegance that the limb of a tree has when transitioning out of the tree’s trunk. I plan to discover forms through exploring the many stages of the life cycle of the material for example, the tree as it stands, a fallen tree cut into logs, the manifold of the intersection of tree appendages, split boards, and cross sections of trunks.

Woodworking is rectilinear in nature and as a result the natural characteristics of the wood are stripped away as it moves through the milling process. My objective is to put back into the material the beauty and the qualities it loses throughout said process. I intend to investigate form by exploring how techniques such as laminating and coopering can yield forms that resemble objects of the natural world. The structure of the tree becomes a metaphorical model of life lessons, as well as a role model for successful wooden objects. Examples of this would be the way that grain follows form, building up layers of dense winter growth and less dense summer growth. These structural qualities are one of the many ways that the tree builds strength while defining its form. I will abstract these complex qualities of the tree and showcase them by letting them define the details in my designs. Through this exploration of form I hope to create a body of work that exists in harmony and is sympathetic with forms and relationships found in nature.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wood sculpture--Technique; Wood sculpture--Themes, motives; Furniture design--Technique; Furniture design--Themes, motives

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Furniture Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Carlos Caballero-Perez

Advisor/Committee Member

Richard Tannen

Advisor/Committee Member

Andy Buck


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NB1250 .D82 2016


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