As Furniture Designer and Builder
I enjoy generating works of art, which serve to enhance the aesthetic richness and value of daily life. That is, my art furniture creations are intended—for the most part—to be functional, yet deeply imbued with expressive content. Nearly all of my creations are “one-of-a-kind” pieces, or Limited Editions.
The materials employed are principally hardwoods (domestic and exotic), and various finishes that protect and enhance without significantly altering the natural grain and color of wood. The joinery employed is both traditional and non-traditional, depending upon the aesthetic and structural requirements of each piece.
My great joy in making a piece of furniture is just that—creating—a piece of furniture: A thought, which develops into an idea, which then moves toward thinking (designing in one’s mind) about function, shape, color, dimensions, wood species. Then begins the actual “paper and pencil” design work. (While some of my work has been influenced by art history, all of the represented works are original designs—generated from within.) Once the design is complete, I send it to the client for feedback. Finally, I travel to a lumber supplier, where between one and three hours is invested, poring over the available possibilities for a piece. All of this happens before I can bring the “potential” piece into my shop to begin building.
When people ask me how I learned to make furniture, I must give the inspirational credit to my father, Robert. From a very early age, I had a hammer or saw in my hands, so “doing” became an inherent way of “knowing.”
The art furniture thrust of my life began in my twenties, when as a young husband, I decided to build a few pieces of furniture for our home. Since then, I have engaged in a considerable amount of personal study regarding design, technique and process. The process (or “spinning out”) of a creation is a completely fulfilling endeavor. Creating in wood is not unlike creating in other art forms. For forty years, my main profession/vocation/passion was that of music and musician. The woodworker and the musician in me are really not two sides of the same coin, but rather more like the fusion of a single entity.
Emeritus Professor of Music Douglas Nimmo began his tenure at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1987, retiring in June of 2014. While at Gustavus, he served as conductor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and Vasa Wind Orchestra, taught instrumental conducting and instrumental methods, and supervised student teachers.
Under his leadership, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra toured throughout the Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest United States, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Poland and Hungary. In addition, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra completed residencies with composers David Holsinger, Csaba Déak, Thomas Root, and James Stephenson. Other residencies have included Swedish trombone virtuoso Christian Lindberg and world-famous trumpeter Allen Vizzutti.
Dr. Nimmo is active as a guest conductor and clinician, and as a writer. He has published articles in Music Educators Journal, Teaching Music, BD Guide, and Gopher Music Notes. As an arranger, his transcription of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Praeludium and Fuga in G Major was performed on the wind orchestra’s tour to the Southwest in 2003.
In addition, Dr. Nimmo is a recipient of the Gustavus Adolphus College Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching, the University of Minnesota/Duluth Society of Prometheans, and is the first holder of the Douglas Nimmo Endowed Chair for the Gustavus Wind Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College. He has earned degrees from the University of Minnesota—Duluth, Vandercook College of Music and Arizona State University, and holds memberships in the American Bandmasters Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Beta Mu, College Band Directors National Association, and Phi Kappa Lambda. In addition to his academic endeavors, he is an avid builder of art furniture. He and his wife, Virginia, have two marvelous daughters, Andrea (Brad) and Beth (Matt).