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Fine furniture class in the hotseat with chair exhibition in Saanich

Camosun class hosts two-week showcase at Cedar Hill

After 10 months of intense learning, creating and crafting, Sinead Strijack will take a little break.

But first she presents the product of her blood, sweat and tears alongside her peers in the fine furniture program at Camosun College.

Strijack loved wood shop in high school, but was already gearing up for academia at a post-secondary school. Two years into an engineering degree, she realized it maybe wasn’t quite the right fit.

“It was all very theoretical and I wanted to build stuff with my hands,” Strijack said.

She looked at the carpentry program at Camosun and got on the waiting list. Then she spotted the fine furniture program, a nice blend of the arts and a trade that drew her back to formative years growing up in Errington. She had little in the way of an arts background, but a keen interest.

Her young years were spent in an outdoor school and home school, which afforded the opportunity for things such as tagging along with a blacksmithing neighbour and 4H activities raising alpaca, and learning things such as woodcraft, spinning and weaving.

“It took a lot to get myself to put together a portfolio to apply to the program,” Strijack said, adding the effort and anxiety was worth it.

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“The first little bit was kind of overwhelming … I was intimidated I guess. I felt like everyone had more experience than me, which wasn’t true.”

Camosun fine furniture is a program that brings together people from all walks of life to learn the art of fine woodworking. It’s also a partnership with South Island Partnership so high schoolers can participate. The program finishes with a chair exhibition at the Cedar Hill Recreation Centre – Strijack is among them this year.

“Now I have this thing I’ve designed and I’ve been drawing it forever. Now it’s in front of me and it’s almost done. It feels really good to have something that I made, that I thought up.”

The whole process – as an individual and as a group – has been part of the excitement and learning, from inital sketches to scale models, then watching the pieces come together.

“Every day you come in and someone’s doing something new. You want to walk through the shop and see all the frustration and all the joys,” Srijack said.

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Hot Hot Seat is on display at The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, 3220 Cedar Hill Rd., June 28 to July 23 with an opening reception on June 29 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Strijack attended last year.

“It was massive, it was a line out the door and crowded in there,” she said. “I’m really excited to see everyone’s work.”

After that, Strijack plans to take a break after the intense 10 months, then would love to find an apprenticeship.

“It’s exciting to have so many possibilities. I feel like have a lot of options at this point which is exciting but also overwhelming.”

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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