Cabinetmaking students show their best work at exhibit

The pieces displayed in Georgian College’s seventh annual Student Cabinetmaking Exhibit are as unique as the students themselves.

The Cabinetmaking Techniques students will display their work starting Aug. 6 in the ABSC Event Space in the Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre at the Barrie Campus. The grand opening takes place between 7 and 9 p.m.; the exhibit continues Aug. 7 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Cole Churchward is planning to display his red oak nightstand and Queen Anne footstool. After years of working as a chef, he discovered a passion for woodworking.

“I’d started buying and selling mid-century modern furniture and had to learn a few quick skills in order to fix some things,” said Churchward. “This quickly led to a desire to learn how these beautiful pieces of furniture were made.”

Churchward said one of the key things he’s learned in the program is to slow down and take your time to set things up the right way. “You get burned pretty quickly when you’re moving too fast,” he said “This program has really taught me the value of that.”

After graduating Churchward plans to get a job in the cabinetmaking field while slowly building up his stable of tools so he can open his own shop one day.

Outside of school and work, he’s pretty obsessed with mid-century modernism. Whether it’s collecting pieces for his home, researching the great designers of the period or working on pieces for clients. “It’s my absolute favourite thing to do,” he said laughing. “Some of my best friends were generous enough to let me use their garage as a shop, so most of the time I’m restoring mid-century modern furniture.” He added that he’s always got a project on the go and is currently working on a large white oak sofa table for a client.

Churchward had the opportunity to showcase his cabinetmaking skills at the recent Ontario Skills competition. He came home with a bronze medal – which he keeps in his tool box.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Churchward. “It was so valuable to see how I stacked up against other cabinetmaking students in Ontario and it was also very humbling. I learned that I have a long way to go, but I’m definitely headed in the right direction.”

Churchward added that his instructors have been very supportive. “They’ve helped me and other students work through any problems we’ve had and are ultimately doing whatever it takes for us to be successful. It’s a very different experience than I had at university.”

A number of faculty and students will be on hand at the exhibit to discuss their work, some of which will be for sale.

Door prizes and giveaways will also be offered.

“The exhibit is a highlight of the program for me,” said Professor Lynn MacKinlay. “It’s very gratifying to watch students hone their craft throughout the year and be able to proudly display their work for everyone to see. I encourage everyone to come to the exhibit and enjoy the fruits of their labour. It’s also an opportunity for visitors to check out the program at the same time. We still have a few spots available for September.”


Photo: Cabinetmaking Techniques student Cole Churchward is looking forward to displaying his work at Georgian College’s seventh annual Student Cabinetmaking Exhibit at the Barrie Campus on Aug. 6 and 7. (Georgian College / Doug Crawford).

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