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Miles Minichiello

I have a fun name to say really fast with an Italian accent. A dad to a sparky little girl, which basically means I play horse games, make swords and get my hair braided. In former lives I have been a bookkeeper, an outdoor guide, a social sciences researcher, a youth worker, and a counselor. Now I try, often unsuccessfully, to make things out of wood.


I came to this program after a series of life changing events. In a former life, I was a married counselor on a First Nations reservation; now I am a single father learning a new trade. A central idea that informed my work as a grief and trauma counselor, was that one can metabolize the trauma or grief that comes into one’s life through creative measures and transform it into something beautiful. After the upheaval in my personal and professional life over the last few years, I came to this program not only to learn new skills but more importantly to make use of the grief I carry with me and use it to create something beautiful.

My cabinet is based off a classic Shaker style blanket box. All the proportions in the box are based off Fibonacci numbers, meaning that there is a base number and all of the dimensions in the box are either 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, or 13 times larger than the base number. The veneer patterns on the bottom of the drawer and the main compartment of the chest are based off Fibonacci spirals. I chose a box because I wanted to create something that was strong, simple, elegant, and something that could both symbolically and literally be a container for all that I carry with me. I designed this box to be a cathartic object, to hold a past life, and to be a container for much of the hardships that I carry with me.

The natural holes in this chest were a central design choice. While building this piece I was originally planning on filling the holes in the walnut or covering them, but over the course of building this piece, I was reminded by a friend of the etymology of the word sincere. Sincere is a Latin word which has its origins in the stone carving trade. Cheaper marble generally has holes in it, and stone carvers would generally fill these holes with wax and dust to make them look like the more expensive statuario marble. The word sincere, when broken-down, means 'without' (sin) 'wax' (cera), or allowing the holes to show. With this in mind, I made a choice to allow the holes to show on this piece, hoping that it would be a sincere representation of myself, what I came to this program to learn and do, and also to allow the wood and myself to be who we are and not cover up the holes to look like someone else.