Judges' tips: Maker of the Year 2021

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Last year's judges, left to right: Adam Markowitz, Laura McCusker, Bernard Chandley, Robert Howard

Are you thinking of entering Maker of the Year 2021? Here’s a few comments from last year’s judges that may help. Maker of the Year 2021 is presented by Carbatec and this year's judges will be announced in July.

Bern Chandley, chair and fine furniture maker

There are two possible approaches to entering a furniture competition: 1. Use it as an opportunity to push your skills and design concepts to the next level. 2. Use it as a showcase of what you know can do by building a piece you are already familiar with, but take a more thorough, meticulous approach to achieve as refined a finish as you possibly can. Either way can be seen as a chance to improve your skill set and expand your horizons as a woodworker.

Robert Howard, mechanical engineer, fine woodworker
Most obviously, as this is a competition judged from photographs, having the best photos possible gives the best possible chance. Photograph strategically: the best angles and any detail that might help the judges best appreciate your work. I hope that more enthusiastic amateurs, and emerging professionals, who last year may have been a bit shy about entering will draw encouragement and enter any future competitions. Entering benefits everyone in the woodworking community.

Laura McCusker, furniture designer and maker
There are three variables when it comes to success in competitions, but only one that you have control over: the strength of the field, the expertise and preferences of the judges and the quality of your submission. The last point has to be the focus and comfort. To this end, my advice is to concentrate on one idea and do it well, remembering that often less is more. Be the Coco Chanel of wood design, she advised that ‘before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.’ I think the same should hold for object design.

Adam Markowitz, architect and designer maker
The work that won last year in each category was generally offering a combination of skill, design, and having strong identity in the work. The most virtuoso piece of craftsmanship did not necessarily win, nor did the most adventurous/clever design – it was the pieces that blended both successfully. Another attribute of the winning entries was that in design they were informed by the history and lineage of the craft in the conception of their pieces, but not shackled by it.

Enter Maker of the Year awards presented by Carbatec at www.woodreview.com.au/moty2021









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