Curiosity is the key to new creations, or at least this seems to be the case with Kate Casey of Peg Woodworking. Starting from a background in sculpture, her current works show her versatility as an artist - experimenting with new woodworking techniques and colorful weaving.
Her constant interest in new materials led her to an intensive program at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine where she learned about woodworking and a variety of techniques used within this field. From there, she began work on seating, from benches to end tables to bar stools.
Currently, Kate is experimenting with a technique called coopering that creates pieces that contrasts with her sharp angled shapes of past projects. Coopering is a technique to create gently curved shapes by cutting pieces of wood at slight angles and combining together.
"I've always wanted to try coopering but have never done it. It involves geometry, which is a math I like to work with; it's something you can see and hold and there's playing as I go but this prototyping phase is the best part for me."
Kate starts by putting each piece of wood through a planer, a machine that smooths and thins the wood down. After this is done for each piece, she cuts them down at the right angle using a table saw to form the desired curved shape and then tapes them together to keep the form until it is ready to finally be glued together. While this may be the end of the wood aspect of her work, the piece is not yet done and Kate's work is not over. In addition to the woodwork, Kate hand weaves each piece.
"Though woodwork is my favorite, I love playing with other mediums. Doing the weaving is a nice contrast because it's such a meditative process where the woodworking is so physical."By deciding to research and learn many different weaving styles - ranging from Danish Cord to Rush Shaker to crocheting and beyond - Kate is able to combine styles to expand her pattern choices.
"I like doing different patterns because it keeps it interesting for me. For chairs and bar stools, I may sell them in a mismatch set just because I've been experimenting with patterns. I keep the works cohesive but it makes each piece unique."
She uses solid braid cotton cord and weaves it directly onto the wooden framework, which helps add strength to the already very durable material as the knots only tighten to the base when weight is added. Though Kate has gotten quicker at the weaving through practice, the time it takes for each piece depends on both its size and the type of pattern.
"The weaving can range depending on what it's going on. Stools are 5 or 6 hours and I've gotten faster. The headboards I do can take long, a few hours over the course of some days."
Recently Kate has added the element of color to her curious experimenting. Keeping it minimal, she tries to use only one color in addition to white, allowing it to pop.
"Colors are tricky because you don't want to isolate anyone. The cotton comes in pastels and I've recently found a nylon material that comes in more vibrant colors I've started to play with."
As Kate explores both the woodworking and weaving side to her pieces, they show her versatility as well as her talent across the spectrum as an artist. They say curiosity killed the cat, but her two cats seem to disagree, giving each of her works their special seal of approval.
If you're interested in a studio visit with Kate Casey please get in touch: email@example.com. Or check out her latest work available for purhcase:
(The Euclid Bench is coming soon, so email us if you are interested in pre ordering!)
Ciao for now,
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