Nov 162011
Authors: Kate Winkle

English majors Seth Braverman and Steven Shafer graduated from CSU and began to work not with words, like some may think, but with wood.

Sawdust Sessions, Braverman and Shafer’s local woodworking studio located at 517 North Link Ln., held its grand opening Nov. 10. The studio is one of two, including a separate studio in Colorado Springs located above Braverman’s father’s shop Alexander Furniture Studios, Braverman said in an email to the Collegian.

The idea of the wood shop was a long time in the making both for Shafer, who started making toys out of scrap wood when he was five years old, and for Braverman, whose father has been a full-time furniture maker for more than 30 years.

“As I began to dream about having my own shop, I couldn’t imagine its process without Steven, and so I asked him to join me in the journey last winter,” Braverman said in an email to the Collegian.

As for his time at CSU, Shafer, who graduated in 2009, said it was characterized more by his experiences than by the degree he earned.

“The souls I interacted with… had much more to do with my education and growth than all of the ideas and books I encountered,” Shafer said. “People matter, not things. I’m not even sure where my diploma is. Maybe in my trunk.”

Braverman, a 2011 graduate, encountered a similar CSU experience, which taught him skills he applies while running Sawdust Sessions.

“Even though I never studied business or marketing at CSU, I have found that my time there has been helpful while creating the Alexander Furniture Studios’ website, and in matters of presenting the business and its story in an effective way,” Braverman said.

According to the pair, what sets Sawdust Sessions apart from bigger brands is its focus on good-quality, hand-made furniture.

“Many of our clients come to us because of places like IKEA,” Braverman said. “There is some cool stuff in that store, but it won’t last more than a couple years. One of the most sustainable practices in building anything is making it last for a long time.”

Sawdust Sessions is currently working in conjunction with the studio in Colorado Springs on an 11-piece project for the Air Force Academy’s chapel, including pieces for the Protestant Room, Islamic Room and Catholic Room, according to Braverman.

“It wasn’t until the past five years that I’ve come to understand and value not only the unique work (my father) does, but also the lifestyle it creates,” he said. “I’m glad to be done working with words, so to speak, and to have a more substantive medium with which to work.”

Collegian writer Kate Winkle can be reached at

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