In Interviews

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Christy Oates is one of 43 fine woodworkers who are showcased in the exhibition Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking. We conducted a brief interview via email to find out more about her work.

Why is this exhibition important to you?
Woodworking has always been a male-dominated field, and I get strange looks and questions when I tell people I’m a woodworker. They always assume I’m designing, but having someone else build the work for me. I’m so proud of the female curators, Laura Mays and Deirdre Visser, in putting together this show and authoring their book on female woodworkers. We are many, and we are a very talented group of people.

What advice would you give your younger self about getting into woodworking?
Woodworking is a hard occupation to get into as it requires a lot of tools and a lot of space to make high-quality work. After leaving college and all the wonderful equipment and workspace offered at institutions, it’s very expensive and daunting to hit the ground running. Residencies that host artists are amazing temporary opportunities to work and make, but it took me a long time to get to the point where I could have my own space. I wish I would have started acquiring tools earlier, but I also wish there were more community spaces for woodworkers/makers.

Which piece in the exhibition stood out the most to you?
The entire exhibition was breathtaking, but I really loved Vivian Chiu’s Blanket because the piece uses wood in a non-traditional sense.

Click here to visit Christy Oates’ website

Click here to learn more about Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking

Click here to learn more about the exhibition at The Center For Art In Wood, running through January 18th.

In her own words: As an artist and furniture maker with a background in manufacturing, I’m inspired by digital making combined with traditional woodworking techniques. I use computer-aided drafting programs and computer numerical control (CNC) machines like laser cutters and CNC routers to create my work. I am most interested in questioning where the boundaries of art and manufacturing meet.


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