Center For Furniture Craftsmanship scholarship-winning student

Light passing through wood: the work of a North Haven furniture maker

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 11:45am

    NORTH HAVEN— The emerging talent currently on display at  Center For Furniture Craftmanship’s Messler Gallery, is, as usual, exceptional. The exhibition opened September 21 with 21 pieces on display.

    What makes this show different from most is that each piece was created by scholarship and fellowship awardees and selected by a jury. One cherry bench, in particular, made a play of light from the late afternoon sun coming through the windows. The piece, with maple inlay and scrollwork, belongs to artist Christina Vincent, who lives and has a small shop on North Haven. Having previously attended two workshops with the Center For Furniture Craftsmanship, she recently completed a scholarship for a 12-week Furniture Intensive. 

    With a degree in art and design, Vincent knew that moving to an island wasn’t going to lead to a lot of design jobs, so, she started a landscaping business  and began working on her furniture on the side. When she was awarded the scholarship, she was thrilled, but she had to overcome a few obstacles to make it work.

    “I couldn’t travel every day by ferry, so I ended up renting a friend’s room in Rockland for the twelve weeks, while ferrying back home to North Haven on the weekends to see her husband and tend to elements of her landscaping business,” she said.

    In the last few weeks of the Furniture Intensive, Vincent’s class focused on steam bending, lamination and curvature. Out of those lessons, she created a pair of walnut high stools with graceful movement titling them Blue Heron.

    “The interior of the stools are laminated wood, with intricate edging and a coopered seat,” she said. “They’re very delicate, but notably artistic pieces.”

    Vincent prefers to work with hardwoods native to the Northeast. Every piece of rough timber is hand selected for its unique qualities such as color, pattern, and texture.

    The call for the Messler Gallery exhibition was during her Intensive, so she submitted a previously made piece, a bench, named Fernwood. The scrollwork is, upon first glance, fairly feminine in its design, but the cut out in the shape of ferns.

    “In that piece, it’s all traditional joinery and Bird’s Eye Maple inlay work,” she said. “The movement comes from the way the light passes through the scrollwork during the day and makes intricate shadows.” Vincent, who strives to create functional furniture, borrows from natural elements for her work, much of it inspired by North Haven itself. “I just wanted a few decorative elements that separate this piece from a typical bench.”

    Vincent not only makes each piece with a function in mind, but with her artistic training, often adds elements of carving or handpainted imagery on her pieces “just to add a little bit more of my style to it.”

    As a result of her experience and the quality of work she was able to produce, Vincent has been invited to exhibit at CraftBoston holiday craft show in mid-December. 

    “That was also a juried application process, and as soon as I wrap up things outdoors for the season, II’m going to get ready for the show.”

    You can view Vincent’s work and 20 other fine pieces of furniture at the Messler Gallery, which will be up until January 2, 2019.

    For more infomration about Vincent’s work and style visit:

    Kay Stephens can be reached at