In Interviews

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Photo credit: Patrick Coughlin

Heide Martin 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? 
I had heard about the book project that Laura and Deirdre are working on well in advance of the show, and was so glad to hear that someone was taking this on. When I studied woodworking I was the only woman in my class and the vast majority of my instructors were male, so I found myself looking for a community of women with similar interests. Over the past few years I have been periodically approached by young women interested in entering the field who are seeking advice from another woman. I think the catalog of the show will endure as a resource for these future woodworkers, as well as an inspiration.

Photo credit: Patrick Coughlin

What advice would you give your younger self about getting into woodworking? 

Hm. Just go for it! It’s not as hard as it looks. And you will love it.

Photo credit: Mark Juliana

Which piece in the exhibition stood out the most to you?
Well, that is hard to say! There was so much impressive work included in the show. As you may imagine, I was already familiar with the work of many of the women, but it was so nice to see the pieces in person for the first time. One piece I had not seen in person before the show was the Yumi Chair II by Laura Kishimoto. It is a truly stunning piece, and I was so impressed with its complexity. I tend to design forms that are much more spare and stripped down than the Yumi Chair – my mind just works that way – but that is part of what draws me to it. I cannot imagine designing or building anything like that chair, and that is part of makes it so special to experience in person. I believe she designed and built this dramatic chair while a student of Yuri Kobayahi’s, which to me also speaks volumes about the powerful role that education can play in pushing the boundaries of our field.


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