FY2023 Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Craft Winner

From Krishna Adams, Director of Visual Arts, Craft, Media, and Design –

Designer Will Winton of Franklin is a recipient of the FY23 Individual Artist Fellowship in Craft. Fanciful form and function describe Winton’s impressive furniture designs. Winton produces work that enhances a room with a uniquely sculptural form and functions as a utilitarian piece of furniture. As part of the design, Winton exemplifies attention to detail by incorporating multiple varieties of wood and techniques to create one-of-a-kind chairs. The idea for the Winton Guitar Chair came to him in 2018 at the Lavender Festival in Oakridge.

The Original Winton Guitar Chair ™, which combines a built-in footrest, guitar hanger, and seat, made from Cherry, Coffeewood, Maple, Oak, Steel, 35 x 19 x 26 inches

“The Winton Guitar Chair fulfills a need amongst players for a comfortable, sturdy, yet flexible seating arrangement. All-too-often, musicians are forced to sit and play on whatever is available. With my Guitar Chair, they can play for hours on end in comfort, in a sculptural and functional accessory for any home or studio.” – Winton

Winton received a B.A. in Media Arts at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and an M.A. in American Studies with a focus on Material Culture from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. For the past 12 years, he has been the Owner of the Will Winton Musical Chair Company (newly renamed the Winton Design Company).

The Individual Artist Fellowship IAF in Craft recognizes and acknowledges an outstanding professional artist who by education, experience, or natural talent engages in a particular art form or discipline and resides and works in Tennessee. The IAF is a competitive grant, and the Commission encourages artists to apply again if they do not receive the grant. Each year, different out-of-state adjudicators review all the applications submitted. As a third-time IAF applicant Winton notes, “Persistence does pay off! This is the key piece of advice I’d give any creator pursuing such a grant. It seems like an “old-saw”, but it is as true as ever!”

Will Winton

In 2019 Winton received the Emerging Maker Merit Award at the 2019 Tennessee Craft Fair in Nashville. Then, in 2021 one of his Guitar Chairs was on view as part of the Best of Tennessee Craft Biennial exhibition at the Tennessee State Museum. His work is included in several private collections throughout the United States.

Recently Winton moved from Sewanee in Franklin County to the city of Franklin in Williamson County. He will use his IAF award to purchase the tools and supplies needed to expand and improve his craft and formally establish his business presence in his new hometown. This fall, he will pursue local festival opportunities to display, sell, and promote his work. For further information, visit Winton’s website here or follow him on Instagram.