Learning from the ground up was a great way to develop the skills that would lead Andy to become a lecturer in the Diploma of Furniture Design at UCOL. Starting out working as an apprentice on the tools gave Andy an appreciation of the work that needed to be done.
Seventeen years ago, he decided he wanted to share his knowledge and passion and joined UCOL. Having had real experience and working in industry Andy wants to ensure that his students get out of the classroom and have exposure to real life situations “When working with wood, it’s not enough to have it ready to work on in the classroom, I want them to see how it’s milled, they need to hear it, see it, smell it”
“This is about more than designing and making a functional piece of furniture, this is about taking a slab of wood and turning in it into someone’s prized possession, it’s definitely an art”
This ethos to his teaching and his personal artistic work has seen Andy take out a number of awards at a national level, a memorable one being the Norske Scog Pine section of the National Wood skills Festival in Kawerau in 2010 competition, with his three-drawer hall table. The piece was titled Inspired and was the joint effort of his students, who helped create the hall table design during an exercise in class.
Andy has been taking his students with him to exhibit as well as, live and breathe the festival for the past ten years – many have entered their own work and also won awards “The students do really well at Kawerau, they usually take out 3-5 awards a year, and it’s a great experience for them to be able to meet others in the field and expand their knowledge of the sector.
This year has seen Andy take on a slightly new direction for himself, a new challenge sees him moving away from Furniture Design
to work with the joinery
students “I’m looking forward to it, I enjoy working with students, and keeping in touch once they leave and see where their journey takes them” says Andy “Students like Leilani Tunnage
who now runs her own company called Designpilot
in Wellington, in 2014 she won Craftsperson of the Year – Palmerston North Student City Awards and two other awards at the National Wood skills Competition”
Pictured above: Andy working on a George Nakashima inspired coffee table for charity.