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Brad Smith

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Western Michigan University

Frostic School of Art Woodshop

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Brad Smith

Woodshop Supervisor

Post and Beam Armoire built by Brad Smith

Born and raised among the mountains of northern Utah, Brad Smith has always had a fascination with tools and machines. Growing up on a small farm, the son of a high school chemistry teacher, Brad was driving a tractor at eight years-old and building things from found objects at every turn.  In his teen years, his interests focused on music, where Brad developed his talent and artistry on the oboe. In his career as a professional musician, he has performed with a variety of orchestras and ensembles and can be heard on numerous recordings as well as music for film and television including his album; “The Gift”, which has sold over ten thousand copies since its release in 1995.

In 1989, upon concluding four years as a music major at the University of Utah, Brad embarked on a journey that would lead to his passion for woodworking and the pursuit of exceptional craftsmanship.  Purely by chance, he found himself employed in a production wood shop where his second vocation took root. Displaying strong leadership abilities and woodworking skill, Brad quickly advanced from an entry-level position to shop foreman where he remained for six years.  During this time he became acquainted with fellow woodworker and fine furniture maker, Chris Gochnour.  An outstanding craftsman in his own right, Chris has been a frequent contributor to Fine Woodworking magazine and teaches woodworking and furniture making throughout the United States.  Brad served an apprenticeship with Chris for two years, honing his skills - especially in the use of hand tools and traditional woodworking techniques.

In 1996, Brad met his future wife, Wendy Rose, associate professor of music at Western Michigan University, and the two were married in Toronto in June 1997.  Six months after relocating to Kalamazoo, he opened Rosewood Design, a furniture and cabinetry shop, in the Park Trades Center - a haven for artisans in the community.  For about five years, he built fine furniture and cabinetry for a growing list of clientele throughout the region.  Given the variety of craftsmen plying their trade in the same building, Brad had the opportunity to collaborate with many artists in a variety of disciplines.  One highlight was working with exhibit designer, Jeff Bernstein of Bernstein Exhibition Design, assisting with the construction of museum exhibits which are part of permanent and traveling collections across the country.  In June of 2000, Brad and Wendy were blessed with the birth of their son, Alexander.  After two years of juggling the demands of owning a business, combined with Wendy’s busy career and a young child at home, he closed the doors to his shop and took on the role of employee and master cabinetmaker for Homestead Furniture, a local firm specializing in high-end casework. Yet another change in early 2005 - Brad left Homestead Furniture to work out of a home-based shop, allowing for more flexibility in caring for, then four year-old, Alex.  Since that time, he has continued his woodworking endeavors while maintaining a position as oboist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.  Along the way, he has held adjunct faculty positions at Weber  State University and Hope College and has served as a visiting instructor of music at Western Michigan University.  In August of 2008, Brad Smith joined the staff of the Gwen Frostic School of Art at WMU as Woodshop Supervisor, director of the Fine Woodworking Apprenticeship Program and Building Coordinator for South Kohrman Hall.

Brad Smith

Woodshop Supervisor



Contact Info