In a shop equipped with modern machines, I often make decisions based on what the machine can’t do. Working with reclaimed and native materials that have a voice of their own, I choose joinery and final surface marks that could only be made by a skilled hand, hoping to leave a trace of the maker in the work.
I love the surfaces that result from creating a piece, and the following years of maintenance or neglect. You can begin to sense patterns in the way some thing was used by the marks it bears. Wide plank flooring reveals layers of paint worn through from foot traffic. Fencing becomes calligraphy as the boards warp twist and fall. Cupboard doors bare scars from hardware changes or failure. Patches are placed in boards where knots failed or mice persuaded their way through. The top board in a feeding trough becomes chewed round by cattle and rooflines sag from years of weight and weather. I hope to make work that evokes my passion for these stories, without making work that is imitative or contrived.
I am inspired by battered toolboxes, the simple structure of a pine grain bin with its corners smoothed and sweet brown from years of molasses, leather handles worn supple from use, a favored blanket chest with its careful repairs, the massive exposed joints pinning together the structure of a barn, and the proud but weathered stance of a locust post still standing after years of service…I build furniture that evokes my passion for these stories while creating work that is vibrant and fresh.
The process of designing and building furniture puts me in contact with the things I value. The days at the lumber mill, doing business with people I respect and admire. Making simple and intuitive solutions for joinery or surface, decisions that will last with integrity. Hearing the sounds of the wood shavings underneath my feet in the shop alive with the smell of drying lumber and linseed oil. Sensing the dance between myself and the will of the wood grain, while pulling shavings with a well tuned drawknife. These simple acts empower the objects they create. The rocker, cupboard, stool or table that results is witness to these values.