Video above: Eve and Kristen review their cookies!
Furniture making seemed like something I could be good at and enjoy. It just sort of clicked on an emotional level.
Eve Radovsky CF '20
Not all NBSS artisans occupy themselves solely with the tools and materials of their chosen fields. Take Eve Radovsky CF '20, for example. She's spent the last two years training to be a furniture maker, but hasn't given up on her many other creative pursuits.
For Eve, time away from the bench at NBSS has meant knitting and baking, as well as walking, relaxing, and generally allowing herself the time to breathe. It's good practice, and helps fuel her maker mind—inspiration for the finely crafted furniture she creates.
In this conversation, we talk about Eve's education and work before NBSS, what led her to the School, and our shared love of sugary foods. All of this while enjoying some homemade cookies—comfort food that matches Eve's calm, relaxed demeanor, but which also requires a focus and practice only a baker understands.
Below is an excerpt from our conversation, edited for space and clarity.
Kristen Odle: How are you doing today?
Eve Radovsky: I'm all right. Better now—my boyfriend and I decided we'd need to take a walk today because I didn't leave the apartment yesterday.
KO: Good. Some fresh air. And you baked some cookies right? How did they turn out?
ER: They're good. They're delicious.
ER: I don't know if you can hear my upstairs neighbor drumming right now. Yeah. So that's going to be happening for a little while. Sorry.
KO: What? It's fine with me, but when do they do that? Is he an actual working musician?
ER: I don't think so, based on his drumming. No offense. He's at it a lot of the days, yeah. Sorry.
KO: Oh it's fine. That's part of what these conversations are all about—the stuff that's happening around you while at home. That's funny!
Ok, moving on... So let's talk about your work. You're a student at NBSS in the Cabinet & Furniture Making program, and will be graduating this year. What did you do before going into woodworking?
ER: I went to college at UMass Boston where I studied early childhood education—specifically early intervention, which is like doing home visits with really young kids, up to age three. But I just wasn't cut out for it, and for most of my 20's I bounced from service job to service job. I've worked as a cashier and a florist, I've done dog-walking, I've worked in cafes, I've worked in shipping of specialty foods... various jobs.
KO: What guided your decision to go to North Bennet? I know you have a strong aesthetic with what you want to make.
ER: I've always been a fairly aesthetically inclined person. I considered going to art school when I was coming out of high school.
The last job that I had before coming to NBSS was pretty trying for me, so it kind of made me reevaluate what I was doing. I wasn't enjoying just bouncing from job to job,and I wanted to stop the pattern. I asked myself, "Well, what is it that I enjoy?" I like working with my hands and I always have. I thought about various ways that I could apply that and was ruling things out: I didn't want to be in the culinary world because I didn't know if I could hack it. It just seems really intense.
KO: Intense, unpredictable, crazy hours, uncertainty.
ER: Yeah. I don't think I need that in my life. I mean, not that working as a professional furniture maker is the most predictable career, but it's a different atmosphere obviously. You're working a lot of the time by yourself. But I've always had an appreciation for beautifully designed furniture.
Growing up, my grandparents always had really beautiful furniture that I admired. Mid-century and Shaker mostly. And I thought that would be something that would be rewarding to make.
Above: (left) Toolbox and (right) Shaker table made by Eve
So at first I tried the weekend [Continuing Education] class, Woodworking 101 at NBSS. And then I kind of took a leap of faith and was like, "I'm going to quit this job that I don't like, to do the Three-Month Furniture Making program. And then halfway through that, Rob O'Dwyer [NBSS Director of Admissions] talked to me about doing the full-time program. So I did.
I was inspired by watching the instructors, Kelly Harris [CF '18] and Laura Goffin [CF '17]. I thought, "Well, if I practice more, maybe I can get to that point." I guess largely it was like a leap of faith, and I needed to do something else. Furniture making seemed like something I could be good at and enjoy. It just sort of clicked on an emotional level.
KO: When the full-time started for you, did it feel like, "Okay, I'm in the right place?"
ER: To an extent, yeah, but I've also had some uncertainty about it. You have to figure out how you're going to make money and you might have to piece together some part-time stuff rather than a full-time job. Or some self-employment. I'm sure there's plenty of stuff out there though, I'll figure it out alright.
KO: I'm sure you will. Did you finish your cookie? This is number three for me today.
ER: I'm supportive. No, almost done. It's a good cookie.
KO: There's a yeast deficit in the grocery store, you know. I'm serious.
ER: I will mail you yeast if you want. It just has to be in a plastic baggie in an envelope.
Or I could drive it to you and put it in your mailbox.
KO: I'm tempted! We can do a swap... I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'll let you get back to your work. What's next for you?
ER: I'm finishing up this knit sweater I've been working on for awhile – it's the same stitch over and over and over again – not very exciting right now. I'm already dreaming up more complex and interesting knitting projects.
KO: That's great, Eve. I can't wait to see your finished creations.
"In the Making" is a series of video interviews with members of our community where we get insight to their lives and work. Learn more about the conversations, and view a full list of interviews on the series homepage here.