Applied Art and Design – optimism through proactive engagement

“I’ve never been one to put too much value in an award but this feels different to me as I feel a great sense of pride to be honoured with the Carter Wosk Award.” Jeff Martin, awardee

As a 2020 Awardee of the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art and Design, Jeff Martin and his studio, Jeff Martin Joinery, explore research-based design, creating furniture that is beautiful, interesting and high-quality.  His work demonstrates the unique place Carter Wosk alumni hold in the province’s creative economy and the importance of shining a light on their contributions to all that is BC. 

Jeff finds inspiration in the materials themselves: “I really love to dive into very often disparate materials and how they react together. When I first started, I had this grandiose idea that I would have my own bronze foundry and my own glass blowing studio and you kind of realize that there is no way that if I were to engage in all those things by myself, I’d become an expert in any of them. A lot of my creative process is achieved by discussion and curiosity with people who are experts with that specific material.” 

It’s this desire to research, know more, and explore, that has led Jeff to expand his experience and therefore, his impact on design. He has grown his practice to include experimental glass blowing, focusing on cork molded, mouth blown collectible glass vessels.  

Jeff has also created space to highlight other artists and designers. Last year, at the beginning of COVID, Jeff moved his studio to a large production facility. The new location serves as a showroom while making space for other designers to help promote their work.  “We started Alpenglow Projects to give designers and artists a low-cost physical gallery space to sell their work in lieu of a lack of shows or meaningful presentations. We’ve made the best out of the situation.” 

Creating pieces that have longevity while reducing their impact on the environment is a key part of Jeff’s art practice. “I think everything we do pushes toward the idea that we’re making stuff that people will hopefully own for a long time. And the goal is that they are multi-generational pieces and that they are engineerable enough and that they’re culturally significant enough that people would want to own them for more than one generation.” 

Last year, Jeff Martin Joinery took its environmental responsibility one step further by planting 300 trees (1/3 of an acre) in BC for every piece of furniture sold. As well, almost all of the lumber Jeff’s practice uses is responsibly sourced from trees which are sick or standing dead. The rest comes from Forest Stewardship Council managed forests.  

“We are trying to do more because we believe being engaged, proactive and optimistic about our world, may in fact help it.” 

You can visit Jeff Martin’s showroom at alpenglowprojects.com to purchase work of featured artists, or reach out directly at [email protected] for details.   

  BC Achievement: Elevate Excellence. Share Success. Inspire Change.  

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