Monica McCleary is a queer furniture maker and co-owner of Cirro Studio, a small-batch furniture and design studio in Rogers. In 2019, Monica graduated from a two-year intensive woodworking and furniture-making program in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She combines traditional furniture-making practices with a modern and minimalistic design approach to create heirloom quality wood furniture. Monica is also a woodworking instructor, and is passionate about creating safe learning spaces for womxn, lgbtqia+, and BIPOC communities.
Her furniture pieces can currently be found in the museum store of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. She has exhibited her fine furniture at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Our Art, Our Region, Our Time Regional Visual Arts Exhibition, the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center in Asheville, North Carolina for the Haywood Community College Graduate Show, and the Southern Highland Craft Guild in Asheville, North Carolina for the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands Exhibit.
I am an artist and furniture maker. As an artist I feel drawn to making furniture because I’m interested in how we as humans interact with furniture. As a furniture maker I’m drawn to creating functional design with artistic elements. As a female in the woodworking field, I’m passionate about teaching and exposing women and lgbtqia+ folx to the craft as well as adding new and diverse perspectives to furniture design.
My work as a furniture maker is centered on functional and minimal, but beautiful design. I am inspired by the functionality of the Shakers and minimalism of the Danish modern design movement.
My work as an instructor is centered on making space and representation for women and lgbtqia+ within the craft community, through classes and community building.
- Monica McCleary