The Society of Arts+Crafts in Boston (SA+C) announced that Massachusetts-born artist Aspen Golann is the 2020 recipient of the John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship. Awarded annually to support an early-career furniture artist, the Mineck Fellowship includes an unrestricted $25,000 prize. Golann was selected by SA+C from a national pool of 48 applicants and will be recognized at on online ceremony Oct., 3, 2020.
Golann was born and raised in Newton, Mass., and trained in Boston. She received a degree in Carpentry & Furniture from Boston’s prestigious North Bennet Street School (NBSS) in 2019, and currently lives in North Carolina, where she is the Wood Coordinator at The Penland School of Craft.
Inspired by the craft of 17th- and 18th-century furniture makers, Golann uses traditional forms and techniques, while giving her pieces subtle, contemporary twists she calls “interventions.” Golann says her work examines gender and power through classic American decorative arts; she creates pieces in the spirit of the “seen, but not heard” experience of women, especially in historical domestic settings. Golann says her furniture forms pay tribute both to the women and the furniture as “intimate, but unacknowledged” members of a household.
“I never expected to fall in love with antique furniture,” Golann says of her craft and training. Her education at NBSS, and the mentorship from New Hampshire-based chairmaker Peter Galbert, led her to recognize the beauty of the work and inspired her application to the Mineck Fellowship.
Golann plans to dedicate her Fellowship funds to three areas: learning; teaching; and tool purchase. Her time will be divided among pursuing mentorship in the craft of Windsor-style chairmaking, sharing expertise by teaching workshops across the country in places where the craft is not traditionally taught, and creating a network to purchase and share woodworking tools among fellow early-career furniture makers. Golann aims to foster community among those considered “outsiders” in the field, by increasing access for woodworkers who are women, and those who are non-gender binary and BIPOC.
"Aspen intends to share a significant portion of her award proceeds to 'pay it forward,' and enhance the careers of many early-career makers," says Society of Arts+Crafts Executive Director Brigitte Martin. "Her generosity of spirit mirrors the Mineck Foundation’s intentions; and it set her application apart from an equally impressive pool of highly-skilled and worthy applicants. The Society of Arts Crafts is delighted for Aspen to receive this prestigious award and we wish her much success in her Fellowship year."
The John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship is one of the largest furniture and craft prizes in the field, and one of the grants supported by the John D. Mineck Foundation, created to honor the diverse interests Mineck pursued throughout his life. The Boston Golf Club in Hingham hosts an annual tournament to raise for funds for the Foundation. The Society of Arts + Crafts, where Mineck once served as president of the Board of Trustees, has administered the fellowship since it began in 2007.