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MIAD Furniture Design student wins Best in Show at International Woodworking Fair

Sep 18, 2018

Redesign something that has lost its function. That was the directive given to Maggie Jo Sanderson ’19 and her classmates in a sophomore Interior Architecture and Design class at MIAD.

From that project, Sanderson created a modern, high-end wooden school desk, designed with a slanted surface and an open space for

Maggie Sanderson

Maggie Jo Sanderson

storing a laptop that allows its cords to hang freely down its sides. Sanderson’s desk recently won Best in Show at the 2018 International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Ga.

The International Woodworking Fair (IWF), a trade show for furniture manufacturing, architectural woodwork and the custom and general woodworking industries, accepted only 40 pieces to feature at this year’s event out of the 90 applications it received. Each applicant submitted photos of the work and drawings of its function. Two of the pieces selected were Sanderson’s – the desk and a chair.

Opening career doors & making connections

Sanderson, a Minocqua, Wis., native and a MIAD Furniture Design minor, flew to Atlanta in August to see her work in the IWF Student Design Emphasis Competition.

Best in Show desk

Best in Show desk

“It was nice to be recognized at the fair,” she says, adding, “I feel like the whole experience opened a lot of doors for me.”

Out of 30,000 people attending the multi-day fair, several have since contacted Sanderson, including individuals who run major companies. Some have congratulated her on the award, while another wants to write a magazine story about her.

Sanderson says she is excited to have the honor on her resume as she contemplates what path to take after graduation – that of a studio furniture designer who designs and fabricates pieces for individuals, or a designer who sells her designs to larger companies.

Helping guide her, too, is Asher Israelow. Sanderson met the New York furniture and building designer when he visited for the fall 2016 MIAD Creativity Series, and he has since become a mentor.

“I want to build the Furniture Design program – whatever I can do to support it is what I want to do,” she says. “My fellow classmates and I are very passionate about it.”