May 2023 – Jesse Shaw came to the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in 2005 to learn woodworking and traditional hand techniques. His intent was to use those skills to upgrade homes and build unique kitchens and bathrooms. That idea quickly disappeared when he fell in love with the idea of making handmade furniture that increases in value and lives on for generations.
After participating in the Nine-month Comprehensive at CFC, Jesse obtained a master’s degree in furniture design from Savannah College of Art and Design. Upon graduating he secured a position as the lead furniture designer at Currey and Company in Atlanta, GA. His role was to create roughly 150 designs per year and manage those pieces in 15 factories in 5 different countries. Visiting these factories provided insight into new manufacturing techniques, which continued to influence his work going forward.
In 2013, Jesse moved back home to Boston, where he worked on the PBS show “Rough Cut Woodworking” for a year, and then started his own woodworking business. He was in a group wood shop up until 2022 when he bought an old schoolhouse that he has been renovating and turning into a workshop. Jesse’s plan is to teach woodworking and design from the schoolhouse, while also building unique pieces.
As both a student and a fellow at CFC, Jesse learned all aspects of fine furniture making, but he ended up gravitating toward steam bending and making complex twists as well as lighting which is still heavily prevalent in his work today.
“When I first started woodworking, I was amazed that I could actually make whatever was on my mind. I’m still amazed by the process, from thought to napkin sketch, to technical drawings to reality. All it takes is time, patience, and a little bit of engineering and you can make anything your mind can think of.”