Keeping up with Khiem
NBC’s newest reality competition Making It features Austin-based woodworker, Khiem Nguyen.
by Abby Moore
Older generations, rejoice. The “good-ole’ days” of television are back. A reality show where competitors encourage each other, spend their time crafting and are rewarded with Girl Scout style patches is now playing on NBC. It’s called Making It, and Austin’s own Khiem Nguyen of A&K Woodworking and Design gets to be a part of it.
When Nguyen and wife Amanda were contacted about the show’s casting call, their passion for creating and the opportunity to meet hosts Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler led them to audition.
The show highlights eight craftsmen and women with a variety of specializations. Though woodworking is now his expertise, Nguyen graduated from The Massachusetts College of Art and Design as an open art major, originally intending to study photography. His introduction to woodworking was born out of a photography project that utilized alternative processing, a way to print photos using their negatives. In order to preserve the negatives, Nguyen began toying with wood to create storage cases. His fascination with the craft grew from there.
“One of the main woodworkers I’m inspired by is George Nakashima, who was a pioneer for Japanese and mid-century style furniture,” Nguyen said. “I really love how clean and simple all of his pieces can be, and how they show off the natural beauty of the wood.”
Sophisticated pieces are his comfort zone, but the challenges on the show allow Nguyen to be more playful with his work. Being raised in a creative household has contributed to his success.
“Growing up my mom would always do little crafts with us,” Nguyen said, “and my dad was a very DIY kind of guy. He was always working on things.”
His crafty upbringing combined with his talent led Nguyen to become a woodworker, craftsman, photographer and artist. His many identifiers are leading him one step closer to the title “Master Maker.”
Keep up with Khiem Nguyen’s progress on Making It, Tuesday nights 9 p.m. on NBC.
Photographs courtesy of NBC Universal.