River Jean Nash

2021 QEST Axminster Tools Scholar - Artistic Wood based Fabrication

River is a joiner and artist working mainly in wood. After studying carpentry and bench joinery River gained a BA in Fine Art at the University of the Arts. Throughout their degree they continued working as a self-employed carpenter and joiner, developing skills in timber framing, sustainable building, bench joinery for domestic settings, cabinet making, kitchen design and fitting and artistic wood fabrication and sculpture. In 2018 they took up two positions: first as a designer, carpenter, and project manager for TUNDRA, making “tiny homes”, and second as a part-time sculpture tutor at Goldsmiths University. More recently they have been focusing on their solo practice, as an artistic designer and maker of bespoke wooden sculptural pieces. 

A QEST Scholarship will enable River to develop a deeper understanding of traditional and modern woodworking techniques, including engineering and ‌construction. They will study Japanese joinery with master carpenter Takami Kawai at The Japanese Carpentry School, Marseille, France. Next they will attend a guitar-making course at the Bristol Guitar Making School with the aim of bringing sound into their sculptural work. Finally they will take an online course taught through a Canadian school, The Professional School of Practical Sterotomy, exploring l’art du trait, an important tool to create working drawings of elaborate joinery, such as roofs and stairwells.  

Upon completing the training, River plans to establish an independent wood fabrication business, working closely with designers, artists and engineers.  

My interest is in developing a hybrid practice that will revere and honour the traditional, whilst utilising new methodologies in digital practice to create efficient, low resource construction methodologies, and objects/structures and that are durable, well crafted, and have a high aesthetic quality. I am inspired by my peers, friends, and elders. I am excited by a lifetime of observation and learning.