Rebekah Kanipe graduated from Piedmont College, earning her BFA in Graphic Design with Honors (Cum Laude). She has also practiced Woodworking and CNC (computer numerical control) routing for over a year. This practice has allowed her to expand in numerous programs and techniques for future ideas.
My passion for woodworking sparked during my junior year at Piedmont; what was an introductory class became a passion and evolved into the beginning of a career. My first experience in making furniture was based on traditional woodworking techniques, and the traditional design of creating furniture with four legs, a connected back, and simple structure.
While I began creating furniture in traditional styles, Wendell Castle inspired me to reach out even further in modern design, with his clean, simple lines and fluid movements in woodworking. George Nakashima’s work taught me to not stray too far from woodworking techniques, but to also push the limits when applying modern designs to traditional woodworking. Both artists had a unique ability to sculpt wood into furniture that defies common traditional myths. Their avant-garde ideas have guided me on this path that allowed me to use unconventional methods, combined with cutting edge designs to create the work I have made over the course of a year.
I have experimented with recent modern technology known as Computer Numerical Control (CNC). CNC allows digital designs to be processed on a computer, the design is then transferred to numerical sequences so that the machine can interpret and cut materials based on the transferred information. I have also had the opportunity to experiment in different methods of cutting and shaping in a variety of materials, such as wood, plastic, metals, and dense foam through a sign company who uses CNC technology called The Sign Bros. While this process seems long and daunting, once I learned the technical aspects of CNC, I found that the furniture making progression became faster and more efficient.
Matthew Hebert, a professor and artist in California, taught the basics in CNC routing at Penland during the summer of 2018. I was fortunate enough to attend the Penland Artist in Residency program and study under Hebert. It was this experience which sparked my interest in using digital design. For the two weeks I was at Penland with Hebert, we were tasked to create an all plywood, gear-based, movable machine for Penland’s Fourth of July parade. Each component was separately cut using a CNC router and assembled using basic construction techniques. This experience solidified my passion for blending new technology with traditional furniture design.
I believe that my work defines the manufacturing process using both traditional techniques and modern technology, from design, to mockup, to finished product. Not only is it an example of manufacturing, it is also an exercise in the process of the transformation of an idea to creating a series of ever-changing designs.