Our three American students graduate with distinction

Three American students have graduated with distinction, with one graduate having his signature piece exhibited at the Scottish parliament.

New Yorker Zachary Schnitzer had his draughtsman’s table chosen for the parliamentary exhibition by Professor Christopher Breward, principal of the Edinburgh Collage of Art, from over 100 other pieces at the school’s 2017 graduate exhibition.

Anselm Fraser, principal of the Chippendale school, said that “it is always a pleasure to welcome American students to the school as they bring such vibrancy and creativity to their designs.

“This year, our three American students were no exception, and each has demonstrated genuine skills and talent, producing pieces of furniture that have form, function and real craftsmanship,” he said.

The three students are:

Zachary Schnitzer

Zachary, from New York, studied studio art, engineering design and sculpture at college in Pennsylvania.

His background in art and architecture has given him the skills and perspective to blend form and function into pieces of furniture that are both visually-stunning but utterly practical.

His signature piece is a draughtsman’s table in solid oak that can be set to any angle for the perfect working position.  The table comes complete with a matching stool.

Apart from the school’s public exhibitions and parliamentary display, he’s also exhibiting at the New Designers Exhibition in London this summer – with pieces including a “springy” table made from American oak and ash, with steam-bent springs that give a playful accent to an otherwise functional piece.

Zachary will then be returning to the States to pursue a career in furniture design and making.

Zoe Cohen

Zoe Cohen

Zoe Cohen, born and raised in Connecticut, is a far-travelled woodworker whose furniture designs are carefully thought out interplays between form and function.

Her international and design perspectives have been shaped by four years at Vassar College studying psychology followed by two years teaching English in China.

Her passion for woodworking started in High School where she helped design and build theatre sets, and her year at the Chippendale school has seen her develop real skills to allow her to realise her natural design talent.

One of the signature pieces she created during her year at the Chippendale school was a beech writing desk embodying both practicality and a playful aesthetic.

While the desk is solidly grounded, with square and geometric lines, hand-planed spars jut through the desk at an angle to support floating trays reminiscent of children’s swings.

It is that juxtaposition between solidity and the unexpected that makes her piece so beguiling, underlining her ability to look beyond the conventional and use fun to break up symmetry.

Zoe will now be continuing to travel while charting a career in woodworking.

Spencer Renna

Spencer Renna, from New York, worked for years in environmental advocacy before committing full time to woodwork and design at the Chippendale school.

His signature piece that will also be on display at the New Designers Exhibition in London is a Mad Men drinks cabinet made from rosewood veneer and hardwood elm. It is a retro piece, designed to resemble a fashion popular in modern furniture in the mid to late sixties.

Spencer will soon be returning to New York and setting up a work space that caters to residents new and old and who are looking for unique and bespoke handmade pieces for their homes.

Anselm Fraser said: “I wish all three the very best in their future careers.  They have shown the commitment and talent to build successful careers.”

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