Bridget Sheehan

Class of 2014

Craftsman, Wendell Castle, Inc.
Adjunct Professor of Industrial Design, Rochester Institute of Technology

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Biography

Bridget Sheehan holds an MFA in Industrial Design from RIT and a BFA in Visual Communication from Ball State University. Prior to attending RIT, Bridget lived and worked in Chicago as a freelance graphic designer and as a graphic design intern at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. While attending RIT, Bridget was recognized by world-renowned software company, Autodesk, for her work as a beta-tester for Fusion 360. Bridget received the 2014 GlassLab Fellowship Award from RIT Industrial Design and participated in the GlassLab Design Program at the Corning Museum of Glass after graduation.

Bridget currently resides in Rochester where she works full-time as a craftsman for world-renowned designer and furniture maker Wendell Castle in his Scottsville studio. Her work in the studio involves digital modeling, woodworking, and preparing original plugs for bronze casting. During her time at Castle’s studio, Bridget has learned a variety of carving techniques directly from Castle and has applied them to work that has been shown in a variety of venues around the world. In addition to her work as a craftsman, Bridget works as an independent designer and as an Adjunct Faculty member for the Industrial Design department at RIT. Outside of work, Bridget enjoys riding and racing bicycles as well as exploring National Parks and historic landmarks across the country.

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"Veiled in a Dream"

Bronze, 69.25” x 78” x 43”

Veiled in a Dream is cast bronze and designed to be used as outdoor seating. The original plug, built by Bridget in Castle’s Scottsville studio, was sent to Roissy, France where it was cast at the renowned Blanchet-Landkowski foundry.

The process to build an original plug for casting is not unlike the process used for building one of Castle’s wooden pieces. It starts with Castle sketching at his drawing table to develop an idea he feels would make an interesting sculptural and functional piece of furniture. If Castle deems a sketch worthy, he then builds the piece in three-eighths scale. After the model is made, Castle will often convene with one his galleries, Friedman Benda (New York City) and Carpenters Workshop Gallery (London and Paris), to discuss the merits of the piece and if the gallery may have a client interested in the potential piece. Castle will also discuss potential materials and finishes with the gallery and the studio manager. If the piece is chosen to be built, the studio has the model 3D scanned and made into a full-scale model in the computer. The majority of Castle’s work is built using stack-lamination techniques, so in order to develop templates for each lamination the digital model is sliced into given layer lines based on the final material of the piece (inch and a quarter for wood, two inches for cast/fiberglas). From here prints are made that show the outline of each layer, once trimmed this becomes a package of templates that is given to the craftsman chosen to build the piece.

All cast pieces are built using two inch laminations of high-density urethane sign foam which are glued together with urethane glue. Once all the laminations are glued up, the blank is then carved to its final shape using a variety of tools including chainsaws, mallets and chisels, and surforms. For Veiled in a Dream, Bridget applied sculptors wax to the foam surface and applied the texture using a hot iron.

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Honors & Awards

RIT ID and Corning Museum of Glass GlassLab Fellowship Award, 2014
Outstanding Senior, Department of Art, Ball State University, 2010

 

Bridget laminated, carved, and textured this piece while finishing her MFA in April and May 2014. It was the first piece Bridget crafted from start to finish as a craftsman at Castle’s studio. The finished bronze piece debuted at Friendman Benda Gallery’s Wendell Castle: Gathering Momentum exhibition from April 1 to May 30, 2015.