Mankind’s fascination with natural form is undeniably long-lived. From collecting and preserving specimens for evolutionary research, to documenting and expressing natural form through artistic practice, Mankind continues to embrace for scientific and aesthetic benefit that which surrounds us. I believe that botany, marine biology, and environmental phenomena—all areas of influence and study from my childhood—are sources that illustrate perfection in form and utility. The sheer beauty evident in these scientific forms continues to inspire me, and I will celebrate them and explore my relationship with them through an experimental making process in wood.
Carved objects, form studies, and functional furniture is the format for my thesis. By selecting specific examples from my past involvement with the sciences, I will seek to convey a sense of pure wonder with my interpretation of natural form. These forms will be explored through the use of specific unique wood samples that I myself have collected, with the intention of establishing a conversation between the design and the material. For me, wood is not just a building material; it is the means of connection between Mankind and the natural world. I respond to its tactility, its preciousness, its origin, and its identity, and I feel a responsibility to honor the medium. Honoring wood is an all-encompassing process that begins with the search for material. I will use material from personally-milled logs that are selected for their naturally grown curves and gesture with the intent of unifying the inherent gesture of the material with natural forms found within.
Rather than reproduce life forms, I will apply my particular knowledge of and fascination with the natural world to explore the process of designing and making objects and furniture in wood. Form exploration and experimentation will be of utmost importance through my research, not utility, although I will use the context of furniture to help ground me in my development. Ultimately, I hope to establish a working process that feels seamless and fluid between the material, the inspiration, and my hand.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Wood sculpture--Technique; Wood sculpture--Themes, motives; Nature in art
Furniture Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School for American Crafts (CIAS)
Kana, Patrick, "Forma Naturalis" (2015). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus