College of the
Faculty Profiles


Laura Mays, Professor of Fine Woodworking, Mendocino Campus

What do you love most about teaching at CR?

Teaching on the Fine Woodworking Program has to be one of the best jobs in the world. I teach people who are investing nine months of their lives to immerse themselves in the craft of fine woodworking. They are here to learn the considerable pleasures and frustrations of acquiring a skill. They get to be intense and focused and attentive in a way that is unusual in contemporary life.

What do you love most about your discipline?

The metaphor I like to think of is the teacher as a guide through the landscape of woodworking, one who draws attention to features close at hand and in the distance, the practicalities and pitfalls, as well as the larger context and meaning of the surroundings. I was a student in this Program from 2001-03 and it was here that I learned to pay attention to wood and to respond to its vagaries and various beauties. I learned how to make objects of enduring use; objects that reveal their subtleties over time to the eyes and hands of the user.

Laura Mays trained as an architect at University College Dublin, but soon discovered that she enjoyed making things as much as designing them. From 1995-97 she studied Furniture Design and Manufacture at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, and in 2001-03 she studied Fine Woodworking at College of the Redwoods. She has an Masters of Art in Industrial Design from the National College of Art and Design in Ireland. She also works in partnership with Rebecca Yaffe under the name Yaffe Mays. Their furniture has been shown at a number of exhibitions in Ireland and in the USA.

Learn more about CR's internationally recognized Fine Woodworking Program: http://crfinefurniture.com/