Student Artists at Work

Student Artists at Work

Thursday, January 10, 2013

For art students, solitary discipline is a given, but what they create is for everyone.

For the next three weeks, we’ll feature the work of a student artist. Each has been developing a personal vision. We’ll learn about their journeys and take a look at what they’ve been creating.

Tyler Beaudoin

Tyler Beaudoin

On the way to Newmarket, just past Kruczek’s Garage on the right, is a sign for Against the Grain Woodworking. An old timey wooden candy cane hangs on the door. Inside Tyler Beaudoin’s showroom are big curved wooden lamps, chalkboards, cutting boards, wine racks, tables, benches, and chairs. In the back is his wood shop.

From Hopkinton, N.H., Beaudoin came to UNH, by chance. He was going to a community college and then, in 2009, he got married, his wife was at UNH, and the University just offered broader options.

“I’ve been interested in art since I was a kid,” says Beaudoin. “I loved Legos. I’ve always been making things.”

At UNH, he poked around the woodworking shop and signed up for a class with professor Leah Woods.

“She’s amazing,” says Beaudoin. “If you have an idea, even if it’s really challenging, she’ll find the resources to make it happen, and she has a wealth of knowledge.”

Accordion table, padauk, beech, and glass, 2010. Photo by Dustin Marshall, www.beaudoinwood.com

Accordion table, padauk, beech, and glass, 2010. Photo by Dustin Marshall, www.beaudoinwood.com

But what really made Beaudoin slow down and pay attention was the fastidious attention that Woods paid to tools. “One of our assignments was to purchase some chisels. And then, before we even used them,” Beaudoin recalls, “she taught us how to sharpen them.”

Accordion table, padauk, beech, and glass, 2010. Photo by Dustin Marshall, www.beaudoinwood.com

It was a long process, but now Beaudoin has developed his own way of sharpening chisels. He doesn’t use oil since that can stain wood. He uses water and “waterstones” made of hardened clay.

Beaudoin also took drawing, printmaking, and ceramics. But soon, it became clear that he wanted to concentrate on furniture design. “Design is 75 to 80 percent of the process,” says Beaudoin. “It’s drawing and model making, and then rebuilding the model. When you work with wood the measurements are to the 32nd of an inch. Making mistakes is costly.”

He also took art history courses including one in contemporary architecture, studying Frank Lloyd Wright and other masters of the arts and crafts movement such as the architects Greene & Greene and Wharton Esherick. Their beautiful homes were furnished with equally well-designed furniture.

“My pieces incorporate that style,” says Beaudoin. “They may have a gentle curve or some of the joinery will include darker woods.”

Beaudoin’s current work reflects the more playful design elements of the 60s and 70s and even incorporates Plexiglas.

After earning his undergraduate degree at the end of December, Beaudoin will continue on for his master’s degree in education with plans to earn a master of fine arts degree.

Originally published by: 

UNH Today