One to Watch: Kate Duncan
A serious accident results in a creative new collection.
Recuperating from a motorcycle crash, Kate Duncan made sketches that eventually became her sleek Thru collection (credenza pictured above).
Kate Duncan isn’t afraid to admit that when she first enrolled in wood shop class in junior high, it was for less-than-artistic reasons. “I really wanted the stuff,” she laughs. Two desks, a mirror, a spice rack and several other knick-knacks later, she’d found her career path. In 2005, she started as a wood shop teacher at a high school in Burnaby, B.C., where she also taught classes for special needs children and created a pilot program at a youth detention centre. Although she still teaches part-time today, Duncan is also busy with her own burgeoning custom woodwork company, which she launched in 2010 after a serious motorcycle accident left her with a bad hip and a broken arm. The slow, immobile recovery period gave her time to daydream and sketch up prototypes, and, eventually, to create pieces like black walnut bed frames and a rift-sawn white oak dining table. The latter’s minimalist, clean lines hearken back to the designer’s love for Japanese aesthetics; the top comprises two pieces of wood, split with an open seam. It’s a design element Duncan loves, though, as she good-naturedly admits: “It came from this totally practical standpoint of ‘I can’t move an entire slab of four-by-seven solid wood.’”