Fifty-eight student works have been chosen as finalists for display at “AWFS®Vegas,” July 27 – 30, 2005 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Twenty-two finalists represent high schools while 36 come from postsecondary schools. Several schools had a strong showing with a significant number of applicants and finalists. They include: Cedar Ridge High School, North Carolina; David Douglas High School, Washington; Brigham Young University, Utah; Appalachian State University, North Carolina; Auburn University, Alabama; University of Kentucky and Georgia Tech.
The 2005 contest attracted 160 entries – a 40% increase over the number received in 2003. Duane Griffiths, chair of the Student Design Committee and Manager of Education for Stiles Machinery, is enthusiastic about the growth of the contest. “The contest has truly arrived as a national event. Entries were submitted from border to border and coast to coast. Only the best have entered” says Griffiths.
Applications from 10 high schools and 23 post secondary schools in the U.S. and Canada—eighteen of which submitted entries for the first time—went to a nine-member judging panel for preliminary judging. Each of the judges worked independently in the first round, using a numerical point system in the selection of the finalists. The panel will come together in Vegas for the final judging and selection of winners. The winners will be announced at the AWFS® Awards Reception, Thursday evening July 28.
“The Student Design Contest display at the AWFS®Fair always attracts a lot of attention and people are just amazed by the quality and creativity of these students,” said Jeff Oliverson, chair of the AWFS®Fair Tradeshow Committee and regional manager for OMGA, Inc. “The contest raises the bar for student woodworkers, and it’s a vital part of ensuring we have skilled and talented woodworkers to continue building this industry in North America.”
AWFS® covers the shipping costs to deliver the finalists’ pieces to the show. The organization also provides two complimentary hotel nights and a travel allowance to bring both the finalists and their teachers to the show. Additionally, $25,000 is awarded in cash prizes, approaching a total budget for the contest of almost $100,000. “Encouraging a future workforce is the motivating factor behind the contest,” says Dale Silverman, AWFS® Executive Director. “There is tremendous value in bringing both the students and teachers in contact with the industry to learn of the latest tools, techniques and technology in the industry,” said Silverman, “and affording them the opportunity to meet with other students and teachers for an exchange of ideas.”
First Place Awards of $1,000 are given in each category. The judges may also award Honorable Mentions in some or all areas; this will be the first year that the Honorable Mention will carry a cash award in the amount of $250. The Best of Show, selected from among the First Place winners, receives a $1,000 cash award and a special sculpture designed by Sam Maloof. A $500 People’s Choice award is given for the entry receiving the most votes from Fair attendees. Additionally, the school of the Best of Show winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize for their school program. A special “Craftsmanship” award will be given this year by Fine Woodworking magazine, in honor of their thirtieth anniversary. The award will be given to the student whose work demonstrates the highest level of craftsmanship coupled with a well-balanced design. The winner will be chosen by a representative of Fine Woodworking.
Entries are divided into two style groups: Traditional (following a classic or recognized design style) and Creative (demonstrating an innovative design). Each style group is sub-divided into four categories: Chairs, Tables, Casework/Cabinets and Upholstered Furniture. There are two additional competing divisions—the 2005 Special Theme category, “Special Needs Furnishings,” and new this year, Team Projects. High school and post secondary projects are judged separately in all categories. Projects must have been completed between September 1, 2004 and June 1, 2005, and must be composed of at least 50% wood or wood composites, except for entries in the upholstered furniture category.
Winners of the 2005 Student Design Contest will also be featured in the book, Fresh Wood: New Designers, Volume 2, to be published by Mitra Publishing Group in collaboration with AWFS®. Fresh Wood, Volume 2, which follows the success of Volume 1 published in 2003, is a high-quality hardcover photographic book showcasing the students’ designs, woods used and joinery techniques employed, as well as insights about the students’ conception and construction process. Orders for the books will be taken on-site at the Fair at special pre-publication prices.
Founded in 1911, AWFS® is the largest national trade association in the United States representing companies that supply the home and commercial furnishings industry. AWFS® has an international membership that includes manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, lumber, upholstery, materials, bedding and other supplies to furniture, cabinet manufacturers and custom woodworkers. The AWFS®Fair is a biennial event in which buyers and manufacturers gather from around the world to buy and sell the latest products and services related to the wood and home furnishings markets.
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