Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 2
November 2007
 
Guidance from a Master
 
 
 
 

If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is—or so they say. A couple of years ago, I proved them all wrong when I did an internship with one of Canada's premier contemporary furniture makers, Michael Fortune. For 10 glorious weeks, I had the opportunity to absorb as much as I could from Michael's 30-plus years of experience making beautiful, functional furniture.

 

Steam-bent and laminated chairs   These steam-bent and laminated chairs with a marquetry pattern exemplify
the detail and craftsmanship of Michael Fortune's work.
 
 
In 1993, Michael was the first woodworker to receive the Saidye Bronfman Award, Canada's highest recognition of excellence in the fine crafts. This year, he received the prestigious Award of Distinction from the Furniture Society, recognizing his lifetime achievement in the field of studio furniture arts. He works in his rural Lakefield, Ontario, studio, building furniture of his own design for private residences throughout North America using low-tech, traditional woodworking and metalworking techniques. His furniture can also be seen in the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, Ontario.
 
During my time in Michael's studio, he began to design and then build a challenging concept for a table, which the Government of Canada commissioned. Rather than help Michael, I chose to design and build a bed to add to my portfolio. Try as I might, I knew that I couldn't absorb everything Michael had to offer in such a short period. Instead, I attempted to understand his approach to furniture making in general.   Bed model
A model of the bed the author designed and started building during her internship with Michael Fortune.
 

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