Design Studio


Introduction to design and design studio experience. Principles of design, sketching/rendering, mockups, and participating in and learning the value of critiques.

Skill level: All Skill Levels

Instructor: Jonathan Cohen, Jonathan has a degree in Graphic design from Cornell University, forty years experience as a professional furniture maker/designer, and has taught furniture design at the University of Washington for over twenty years.

Class Length: 10 weeks, 4 hours per week.


You will notice that this class is open to woodworkers of every skill level, for one simple reason: the vast majority of woodworkers that any of the instructors has met in our multiple decades of experience have either ignored or been intimidated by the notion of honing this skill. That means it is never too late nor too early to develop this part of your work. It is an absolutely fundamental need for our development as woodworkers. Without developing one’s own creativity and sense of style, a woodworker is slated for a career of copying existing work or moving forward sluggishly sans that spring in one’s step and that eagerness to engage in a new project.

There are precious few people working today whose work has taken on a life and personality of their own. There are also very few schools able and willing to teach it. We are setting out to make it a cornerstone of the learning process here at the Ebanista School of Fine Woodworking.


Curiosity, willingness to share yours and accept your classmate’s and instructor’s observations about your evolving designs, and a means of rendering. A sketch pad and pencil, notebook, or laptop. If you are not yet sure which methods are most conducive to you, bring several and see where your ideas find fertile soil.


By the end of the ten-week program the student should:

  • Have begun to absorb the language of design.
  • Have developed a notebook of their own ideas for projects.
  • Learned the value of mockups.
  • Learned to explore an idea or theme in depth.
  • Learned to give constructive design feedback to peers.
  • Take home a project of their own design.


There are no prerequisites for Design Studio. Bring lots of ideas and a willingness to work with other students on developing good design skills.

Materials: All shop supplies (tool use, glue sandpaper, oil finishes, etc) included.