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Frequently Asked Questions For Prospective
Woodworking and Furniture Design Students

What degree should I pursue?

The majority of Woodworking and Furniture Design majors pursue the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree often referred to as the BFA degree.  This degree provides for more studio credit hours than does a BA or BS degree.  However, students wishing to pursue a major/minor should look at the BA or BS degree.  If you are confused about degrees please discuss this with your advisor.  Once you declare a major or your pursued degree you may change- so don’t feel as if you are locked in- you’re not.

What do I need in terms of tools?

A hand tool kit is provided for each student for the first two semesters. (AD 124 Woodworking: Joinery and Greenwood and AD 224 Woodworking: Turning and Bending)  Woodworking and Furniture Design majors in the higher-level studio classes are expected to acquire their own hand tools.  All students must have their own safety glasses and a lock to secure their tools.

Will I need to submit a portfolio for admission?

No portfolio review is required.  For general requirements for admission into the University you should check with the Admissions Office.

Are there scholarships for incoming Art and Design majors at the freshman level?

Yes, there is scholarships available- for specific information on requirements and deadlines check on-line at: http://art.nmu.edu/department/ad_info_scholar.html

What emphasis will I find in the Woodworking and Furniture Design programs?

The emphasis in the first two semesters is on the physical aspects of woodworking. AD 124 starts with traditional green wood techniques to acquaint the student with issues of strength and grain direction as well as wood movement.  We also work with dry lumber and mill it in preparation for hand tool joinery exercises.  After the joinery exercises the student designs and creates work that utilizes the skills learned.  We also employ carving techniques utilizing both power and hand tools.  In the AD 224 class we work primarily with turning and bending techniques.  On the lathe I teach cutting technique in addition to scraping.  I present spindle work including multi axis as well as faceplate techniques. With bending we include linear laminate, steam, and planer vacuum bag techniques.  After basic skills are practiced students design and build work that utilizes those skills.  Basic information on drawing and designing three dimensionally is also presented as well as numerous examples of historic and contemporary work.  In the upper level classes, third semester and beyond, my emphasis is on design methodology.  Here we examine ways to expand our thinking on how to approach a problem.  In addition to recognizing traditional approaches we look for as many alternatives as possible to expand our options before finalizing a design plan.  I promote group brainstorming discussions and team thinking to challenge the status quo and access ideas that the individual working alone may not realize.  Ultimately I work to promote the students understanding that they are creating themselves as well as their own future as they create their work.   

Do most of your majors find employment?

Since not all graduates keep in contact it would be difficult to answer that question. However, many of our graduates who keep in contact have found related employment after graduation. Our program provides the needed educational experience and foundation for seeking professional employment as well as graduate studies.  Several graduates are successful as independent designer/makers doing custom and limited production work with the help of several employees. Typically these businesses market their work through galleries and craft fairs. 

May I enroll in other Art and Design classes?

Yes- there is elective Art and Design credits designed into the curriculum.  You should consult with your advisor for specific details.  Any 100 level Art and Design studio class has no pre-requisites.

What if I have problems enrolling in the AD 124 or AD 224 wood classes?

All of our lower level studio classes fill quickly.  If the class is closed I recommend that you come to the first scheduled class meeting to see if anyone has dropped the class.  Sometimes there are some drops in enrollment before the semester begins so check again. 

More Questions?

Please write Professor Ted Ross at eross@nmu.edu with any further questions you may have.