Popular Woodworking In America: An Interview with Nancy Hiller

Nancy R. Hiller
earned a Metropolis & Guilds of London certificates in furnishings
making in 1980. She’s been an expert designer and
cabinetmaker ever since and focuses on period-authentic
work. Her work has appeared in
Woodworking, High-quality Homebuilding, Common Woodworking
Journal, Previous-Home Journal, American Bungalow and
many different publications. Hiller took few moments
to communicate to us about her work and her upcoming look
at Woodworking in America.

You’ve been an expert designer and cabinetmaker
for greater than 30 years. How has your woodworking method
advanced throughout that point?

Being an expert woodworker is radically totally different from
woodworking as a passion or after retirement. When your
livelihood depends upon designing and constructing furnishings or
cabinetry for paying shoppers, you’re confronted with financial,
interpersonal and existential realities that require you to
develop self-discipline and expertise past these sometimes related
with the workshop. For the overwhelming majority of
skilled furnishings makers I do know, this can be a massively
humbling train. The honeymoon interval, as my first employer
referred to as it, involves an finish; as you launch into your tenth
bureau or your sixteenth eating desk, you’re hit with the
realization that even on the earth of genuinely customized, one-off
work, most commissions contain the identical fundamental strategies,
organized in what you come to acknowledge as a routine sequence.
At first I discovered this dimension woodworking
soul-crushingly monotonous. I tried escape—in the end,
3 times over time. However every time I got here again. I’ve
discovered to method the repetitious features of my work, which
in some jobs can final for days at a time, as alternatives to
domesticate persistence. And on the finish of each job, there’s an
object of magnificence that got here out of my thoughts and arms.

You clearly have a ardour for period-authentic work.
What are you at the moment engaged on?

My present fee has me constructing an audio sales space for a
mid-century church designed by the Yale-trained liturgical
architect Edward Anders Sövik. The nine-by-five-foot display
across the audio tools is constructed from strong cherry frames
with sequence-matched cherry-veneered panels that echo the
rhythm of the sanctuary’s unique architectural parts.

What are your favourite sorts of initiatives?

I thrive on the range that customized work gives. Some
woodworkers think about it the pits as a result of it so typically entails
subjugating your personal preferences to these of your shoppers. However
I like the interplay with shoppers, in addition to the chance
to design work for various architectural contexts. My
favourite initiatives are these during which I get to work with shoppers
who actually recognize the architectural character of their
place, whether or not it’s a home, church or former fireplace station. I
take note of the constructing’s historical past, in addition to to how my
shoppers want the house to work for them. Then I create
practical items, whether or not freestanding or built-in, which might be a
pleasure to make use of.

You’ve additionally authored just a few books together with “A Dwelling of
Her Personal” and “Historic Preservation in Indiana.” I’m excited to
say that you’ve one thing new within the works for PW
Books – would you thoughts telling readers a bit bit about

I’m simply beginning work on a guide about English Arts and Crafts
furnishings that may mix historical past and chapters on ornamental
, inlay and different strategies with three substantial
builds. It’s a really thrilling undertaking as a result of it provides me a
probability to immerse myself in work from a spot and period which have
been vastly influential on my perspective and aesthetic. The
three builds will characterize totally different levels of the Motion,
totally different types, totally different furnishings types (a desk, a
sideboard and a chunk of bed room furnishings), and totally different
approaches to designing period-style work.

What are you wanting ahead to most at WIA?

Assembly Raney Nelson and seeing his planes in particular person.



Don’t miss Nancy Hiller at Woodworking in America,
September 16-18. Click to learn more about WIA.

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