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How to Design and Construct a Contemporary, Sculptural Chair

August 11 - 16, 2024

Brian Fireman  ·  website

Workshop Overview

This class will be an exploration of both chair design and construction. Drawing predominantly from inspiration found in nature, students will learn to translate ideas into sketches, scale models, and eventual shop drawings. Students will learn ways to design and execute precise joinery in curved work-pieces, including tips and tricks for using the Festool domino joiner. In this workshop, students will explore tools, tips, and techniques for carving and shaping wood, as well as glue-up tips for curved work. The instructor will work with each student in developing a design appropriate to their individual skill level.


  • Design
  • Layout
  • Joinery
  • Shaping
  • Finishing


  • Class Materials List
  • Please note any materials you are expected to purchase prior to arrival
  • Estimated fees vary based on class size and materials used


  • Tools for designing a chair
  • Ways to create shop drawings
  • Tools and techniques for building a chair



Fees exclude housing and meal plans. Review housing options here.

Artist Bio

Brian Fireman is a furniture designer specializing in hand-crafted contemporary furniture. His education in architecture was fueled from an early age fascination with building. Upon graduating with a BS in Geology from The Colorado College, Brian spent time traveling and kayaking around the world. Some of these journeys brought him to Ecuador, Chile, India, and Nepal. He returned to the United States to earn an MA in Architecture from Virginia Tech. There, he became intrigued with the tectonic nature of building, where the forces generating a particular structure are revealed through a choice of construction and materials. His summers spent building and raising hand-cut timber frame structures taught him about the diverse tradition of woodworking and joinery. While working for a high-end residential architecture firm, it became clear that he missed a truly hands-on approach to both designing and building, and in 2003 Brian Fireman Design emerged. Allowing the inherent beauty and natural characteristics of wood to influence his designs, balancing each piece’s practicality with its structural, sensual, and formal qualities, he has created a unique line of furniture. Brian’s work has been exhibited nationally and published in a variety of magazines. He works from his studio in western North Carolina.

  • Brian Fireman
  • Brian Fireman
  • Brian Fireman


In order to complete your registration, a $300 deposit is required.

Call 865-436-5860 with questions about registering for this workshop.

ART WORKSTENNESSEE ARTS COMMISIONTENNESSEE FOR THE ARTSTennessee Specialty License PlatesEAST TENNESSEE FOUNDATIONWindgate Foundation Arrowmont is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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