Gorgeous sideboards and cabinets, classic comb-back Windsor chairs, a contemporary wooden music stand, and handmade jewelry, all the work of students and alumni of North Bennet St. School in Boston’s North End, are on display through May 24 in the lobby at Two International Place in downtown Boston. We previewed the exhibit at the annual evening of traditional craft, a gala event packed with guests and sponsors of the 125-year-old school dedicated to offering hands-on training in traditional trades and fine craftsmanship.
Recent graduate Evan Court presented a beautiful sideboard he recently completed. Made of mahogany, satin wood, ebony, and holly, it has detailed panels on the legs, a distinctly traditional design, but Court’s simple inlay gives the piece a more contemporary feel.
Nathaniel Emerson, a student in the school’s Preservation Carpentry program, showcased an 1840s inspired apothecary cabinet made of curly cherry, black wood, and poplar. The piece started as a class assignment to make a cabinet for his wood working tools, but Emerson went above and beyond and constructed the 600-piece cabinet. The mouldings, a classic Shaker design, combine with Colonial details to make a distinct combination.
Student Charles Hamm also used traditional techniques when designing his Windsor rocking chair. In addition to the curvaceous carved arms, a design echoed in the comb-back rail, the chair has beautifully turned legs and spindles.
Hamm wasn’t the only one to utilize woodcarving in his piece. Bradley Wolcott’s demilune table (named for its half-moon shape) featured traditional acanthus carving, an adornment common in Scandinavian woodcarving that is inspired by the Mediterranean acanthus plant. The classic Sheridan-style table features contemporary design elements such as inlayed satinwood ovals. Wolcott says the piece would nicely fit into a contemporary space.
The modern chaise lounge designed by alumni Steve Brown, Eli Cleveland, and Thomas MacDonald and then crafted out of eye-catching red oak steam-bent to create gently curved staves. The result is a comfortable chair with attractive modern lines.
The exhibit is curated by Walter McDonald, former NBSS associate director and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May 24 at Two International Place, Boston. Most of the work being showcased is for sale.