Transforming Wood Through Collision of Trades and Artistry

May 19, 2023
Fine Woodworking Cohort 2023

From the minds and muscle of Selkirk College students, arrives the eye-popping elegance of the Fine Woodworking Year End Show & Sale.

The much-anticipated annual showcase runs from May 26 to 28 at the Nelson Trading Company where students emerge from the sawdust and buzz of the Silver King Campus to present the culmination of their nine-month learning adventure.

“It’s confidence-inspiring to know you now have the skills to make something beautiful,” says Dana Doerksen, one of 18 students in this year’s Fine Woodworking Program who will be presenting their work at the show. “Having a vision and then getting to execute that vision, it’s very satisfying to break down the steps and then get to a final piece. It’s amazing to see what the people around me are making, it’s very exciting to learn in this environment.”

Renown for its excellence in instruction and learner outcomes, the program attracts students with diverse levels of experience and skills from across the country. Progressing from hand tools in the early weeks to machine tools, the program places emphasis on creativity and design. Guided by instructor David Ringheim and instructional assistant Scott Stevens,  graduates emerge ready for apprenticeship positions in the cabinet maker (joiner) trade or as fine furniture builders.

The year end show features work produced by all 18 students, from their early wooden spoon and box making assignments to the exceptional tables and cabinets that were being feverishly finished in the days leading up to the exhibit. An annual spring staple in downtown Nelson for decades, the year end show will be enjoyed by experienced craftspeople to anyone who appreciates stunning wood-based design.

Fine Woodworking Show Preview
Fine Woodworking Program students Dana Doerksen (left) and Lacey Leforte (right) are two of the 18 students who will be presenting beautiful pieces at the Fine Woodworking Year End Show & Sale that goes May 26 to May 28 at the Nelson Trading Company.

“People will get to see months-and-months of hard work and dedication to a singular object that really only the maker and those beside the maker can truly understand the scope of toil,” says student Lacey Leforte. “It takes so many hours to get to completion and the fine details are what makes a piece. It’s so much work, but it’s exciting to get to present the time and effort you have put in.”

Leforte and Doerksen are both originally from Manitoba, entering the trades-based Silver King Campus with very little experience working on machine tools. The two classmates were similarly drawn to the program because of its foundation in creativity and the supportive learning environment.

With some of their peers arriving with much more experience in trades-related fields, they admit to being nervous in the first few weeks of the program. The cohort-based model soon took hold with peers eager to work collaboratively and provide each other assistance when required.

“There has been so much learning, but I love school everyday and am excited to come to the shop,” says Leforte. “Many of us are still very new to this and getting to this point is because we get to learn in this beautiful multi-million dollar shop under the guidance of great teachers. I feel fortunate to have this year-end platform to show people our work and have people enjoy it.”

The entire community is invited and encouraged to attend the Fine Woodworking Year End Show & Sale that takes place on May 26 to 28 at the Nelson Trading Company (430 Baker Street). The show goes Friday (9 am to 9 pm), Saturday (9 am to 5 pm) and Sunday (10 am to 4 pm) with no charge for admission. There will be an opening night gala on Friday between 7 pm and 9 pm with raffle tickets for sale all weekend to win a magnificent table that was built by the instructional team using the winning blueprint from the class’s student design contest.

Meet all the makers and see some of the amazing pieces here.

Learn more about the Fine Woodworking Program.

SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all