teachers who taught at ESCA

Kevin Rodel--guest furnituredesigner & maker

Kevin Rodelguest furnituredesigner & maker

Kevin Rodel has been building and designing fine custom furniture for over 30 years. Along with co-author Jonathan Binzen, he wrote the award winning book, Arts & Crafts Furniture; from Classic to Contemporary. This book earned a coveted OAT Award from the American Library Association in 2004 as an outstanding academic title in Arts And Architecture. He also writes articles for Fine Woodworking magazine and is a regular instructor at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine.

Neil Erasmus--furniture designer & maker

Neil Erasmusfurniture designer & maker

Neil’s knowledge and skills of fine furniture making and teaching ability have facilitated travel to many parts of the world. Neil is a regular instructor at the excellent, Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, USA, and has even taught, one-on-one, in Auckland, New Zealand. Over their long careers, Neil and Pam have won numerous awards for their furniture, the most recent being Studio Furniture 2010 at Bungendore Woodworks Gallery. Their work can be found in public and private collections around the world.

Writing is another of Neil’s passions. He writes regularly as a contributing editor for the Australian Wood Review magazine on topics that range from projects to exhibition reviews. He plans to write a book of his own – part fiction, part fact and part memoir.

Read more about Pam and Neil Erasmus

Brian Reid--guest furniture designer & maker

Brian Reidguest furniture designer & maker

Brian Reid is a master fine furniture maker based in midcoast Maine. His handmade, solid wood furniture spans one-of-a-kind commissioned pieces for residences to corporate board room furniture.

Reid splits his time between furniture making and woodworking course instruction with over 15 years of teaching worldwide in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand. At the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (Rockport, ME), he leads the 12 Week Intensive Program and is former senior fellow of the Studio Fellowship Program. He also lectures and speaks about contemporary design practices and the history of furniture to a wide range of audiences. 

An honors graduate of Parnham College (Dorset, UK), he studied under the renowned designer Sir John Makepeace and principal Robert Ingham. He is the 5th from only a total of 8 Americans to have attended this distinguished program.

Reid has taught on numerous occasions at Penland School of Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and in the furniture programs at San Diego State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison. For two consecutive years, he taught a highly successful master class on Veneering at the Centre for Creative Industries, Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland.

David Upfill-Brown--guest furniture designer & maker

David Upfill-Brownguest furniture designer & maker

David set out in the 70’s as a sculptor, carving both stone and wood in Central and Southern Africa.  Disenchanted with the then growing trend towards conceptual art he began to focus on furniture and in 1980/81 studied furniture making and design at Parnham, John Makepeace’s school, in England under the remarkable tutelage of Robert Ingham.  From 1982 to 1999 with his wife Hermione he ran a bespoke furniture workshop in Tharwa near Canberra, Australia. 

Teaching a little there and part time with George Ingham for eight years at the Wood Studio of the Australian National University culminated in his appointment as inaugural academic director of the Australian School of Fine Furniture in Tasmania in 2000.  After four years there and then five as lead instructor of the Nine Month Comprehensive at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine USA he now continues to teach in Maine for up to three months annually.

David believes that to begin to understand wood one has first to work it by hand and that once hand methods become habitual it is often more economical for bespoke or one-off furniture makers to work manually than to rely entirely on machinery.  Well-developed hand skills, increasing versatility, also allow him to push the boundaries of design. 

He does not however eschew the use of machinery.  Indeed he tunes his own equipment to perform “like the first violin in the orchestra”.  Machinery is of course imperative in repetitive work and he loves the challenge of developing production systems where smart designs and speed and quality are achieved through canny and succinct jig making.

Nothing lasting can be achieved without a sense and understanding of design.  Like all makers initially seduced by the material he started out wasting some fine wood.  But training, teaching, research, innumerable exhibition visits, contact and correspondence with many contemporary studio furniture makers and general interest in art, especially sculpture and concrete work in all media has helped him build a stronger design sensibility.  David believes that truly successful design is timeless, as an ancient example; the ‘Klismos’ chair from ancient Crete, as a modern one; ‘The Chair’ by Hans Wegner and he strives to come somewhere close.

David loves teaching.  His greatest pleasure is witnessing students find ability deep within themselves.  Seeing how the craft generates a powerful physical, practical, emotional, almost primal intelligence, seeing them become something like dancers or athletes, individuals whose minds speak through their bodies.

A more acquisitive pleasure is the connection of teacher and student in what he calls “the realm of ideas” - the collaborative development of a design that must speak of the student but one who has been encouraged to embrace structural, technical and visceral as well as intellectual territory that they may not have dared. 

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