Furniture Designs

Philadelphia College of Arts Student Works

The three pieces shown below represent projects made during sophomore and junior years majoring in Wood at the Philadelphia College of Art, 1968 -1970.

I spent my senior year at PCA off-campus, earning a BFA in Crafts circa 1973 on the basis of a kitchen commission designed and built while also touring with Johnny’s Dance Band and teaching 3D to Fashion Design students at Drexel University.

“Dan Jackson, woodworking instructor at the Philadelphia College of Art and gifted furniture maker/sculptor until his death late ’70’s, brought a few things he was making to the wood shop first day of class September 1969 and set them on the floor for his new wood majors to examine.

We all marveled at an unfinished yin yang sculptural statement which had no beginning or end, but mostly we were all dumbstruck by his curly maple piano bench which, although stock still motionless, seemed to skitter across the room on four hoofed gazelle legs, finished to such a smooth satin finish it begged to be caressed.

Dan didn’t say much. He didn’t need to. But what I and every one of my half dozen classmates took away from the “conversation” that day was that we were graced to be in the presence of woodworking’s gold standard and if we didn’t aspire to it for the rest of our careers we’d essentially have to be satisfied with mediocrity.

In the course of our studies we were given loosely defined assignments to make useful objects in all species of wood incorporating the safe use of machines, traditional methods of joinery and the ever popular “renaissance” techniques of the day: Stacking, carving and shaping massive amounts of hardwood glued into overly wrought organic furniture that looked more like they grew out of a tropical rain forest than in an art school wood shop in the City of Brotherly love.

In the end, however, we were fortunate Dan gave us the freedom to grow it in whatever way, shape or form our young minds envisioned. It shows in these PCA projects and in everything else wrought since via Dan’s inspiration.”
John C. Jackson