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Nancy Hiller, pictured in her Bloomington, Ind., workshop, puts the finishing touches to an architectural wall cabinet.She has worked as a professional designer and builder of furniture and cabinetry for more than three decades.
So, you worked as a cabinetmaker both before and after you were enrolled in the religious studies program at IU.
How did each pursuit inform or influence the other?
It was a harsh education, revealing just how much of daily work in the field is repetitious. I realized that I would not be able to put so many of the fine skills I had learned in my training into practice.
On top of this, I was introduced to the phenomenon of clients who change their mind after the job has started.
With more than 30 years professional experience as a designer-builder, Nancy R.
Hiller, BA’93, MA’96, has run her own custom furniture and cabinetry business in Bloomington, Ind., since the mid-1990s.
Hiller trained as a furniture maker in England, where she lived for 16 years from age 12.
After earning a City and Guilds of London certificate, she worked for Roy Griffiths, a Slade School of Art-trained designer, building old pine kitchens at his Crosskeys Joinery in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
After graduating, I took a job with a cabinetmaker.
I learned invaluable lessons about the realities of making furniture and cabinetry for a living, as distinct from a hobby.