The High One Mountain Dresser takes Second Place Prize in Woodworking at Burlington College's Gumbo Show


This past weekend, my mountain dresser, named "The High One" won second place in woodworking at the Gumbo Show at Burlington College. This show featured over 150 artists showing beautiful work in painting, sculpture, film, music, literature, photography, wood, and mixed media. Here is a photo of my piece that won:

an overall view of the mountain dresser

Originally inspired by a photo of a silhouette of a rock climber, I wanted to build a dresser with a rock face profile. An Army friend of mine who summited Denali (Mt. McKinley) in Alaska in 2008 served as the perfect excuse to build a dresser in the shape of a mountain.

interior of the mountain dresser showing ski skins, ropes, and various skiing and mountaineering equipment

This dresser, used to store climbing gear, is my interpretation of Denali, referred to as “The High One” in Athabascan. Wanting to immerse the viewer in the entire dresser, there is no external hardware. The crevice running down the entire front serves as the handles for the two main doors as well as hand holds for the two bottom drawers and the top hatchback door.

here you can see that the ski skin hangar and hooks to hang various equipment pull out for easy convenience

Carved using an angle grinder, the hills and valleys are not random. The front two doors are the topographical map of Denali and the Alaskan Range. The two peaks of Denali are seen on the left door; Muldrow Glacier and Ruth Amphitheater on the right. The actual topographical map is image transferred inside the bottom drawer.

topographical map on doors and crevice handle

The skyline of the Alaskan range is seen in two places. The first is the image transfer inside the top hatchback compartment. The second serves as the divide between the base and the bottom drawer. The two peaks of Denali are on the right just beside the crevice.

the bottom line is a skyline view of the Alaskan Range

the acutal Alaskan Range

The image transfer on the inside of the main compartment is a photo of Denali (copyright Bradford Washburn, courtesy Decaneas Archive). Mr. Washburn took many photographs throughout Alaska, Washington, and Oregon, and his images were routinely used to create maps.

Wanting to give the feel of a rock surface, I sandblasted and then oiled the entire dresser. Highlights were painted using gel stain (and channeling my inner Bob Ross).

Here you can see the texture that the sandblasting left on the wood.  All dark areas are painted with gel stain by hand.

both the top and bottom drawers have angled dovetails

I used this piece to explore different techniques such as angled dovetails, angle grinding, sandblasting, and the inclusion of multimedia with four different image transfers. It was a journey much like that of a mountain climber – I had a final destination in mind when I set out, but the lessons learned and my experiences along the journey proved to be the greatest reward.

** all photos credit Amanda Lass.  A big thank you, Amanda!  to see more of her photos, go to: