Furniture joinery as an art form

Nearly all woodwork consists of joining pieces of wood together to create something. Every joint can therefore be considered as a solution to a specific problem of how to hold wood together. It is also possible, however, to consider joinery as a solution to a creative design problem as well. In my work I have found it challenging to explore new methods of using joints so that their strictly functional usage is superseded by my awareness of their artistic potential. The joinery thus becomes an esthetic element of the design, adding to both the interest of the design task and to the visual impact of the finished piece. The joints I have used were not designed by me; however, I have adapted them to express my creative statement more clearly. They thus provide a distinctive quality to the designs and give each piece a definite uniqueness. By modifying the joinery I was able to explore both the structural capabilities of the joint itself, and at the same time satisfy my own creative desire. In each of the pieces I designed for my Master's show I tried to explore a new and different method of joining wood. Through my research I came to understand why specific joints were designed and how they could be adapted for various applications. As part of this exploration I made replicas of some old forms of Oriental construction joinery. After mastering the technique required I went on to adapt the various joints, such as repeating a joint element to form a more definite geometric pattern or varying the proportions of the joint elements. Joinery techniques used in building construction in the United States were also adapted. These explorations of joinery combined with inlaying of woods formed the basis of the technical side of my designs. Each piece is designed to include the joinery as an integral element of the design, thus making a strong artistic statement. In all of these pieces the forms could not have been achieved without these personally adapted joinery methods. I have chosen to discuss only certain pieces which were included in my Master's show. These pieces are those which best express the strong interrelationship between design and structure.