Defining oneself as a woodworker these days often leads to more questions than answers. It would be much easier to specify: furniture maker, cabinetmaker, carpenter, artist, craftsman. Yet I try not to confine myself to one label. “Woodworker” suits me just fine, and all ambiguity that goes with it. Folks always ask me what kind of work I do. After years of fumbling a response, I’ve realized my work is creating spaces for people. That may be a simple shelf on a wall or renovating an entire room. I’ve built places to cook, places to bathe or to sleep. I can build a table to share a meal or a shed for garden tools. In today’s busy world, a charming space can make all the difference in life. A rocker by the stove, a window seat, an office desk — wood adds a warmth absent in so many other materials. And so it’s the medium I’ve chosen to focus my time.
I find a pleasant balance in working with wood. It engages the mind and hands equally. It’s always a stimulating process, beginning with rough boards that often still reflect the form of a tree. A design moves back and forth from paper to plank through the act of machining, hand shaping and finishing, bringing the whole piece to life.
I like woodwork to be solid and elegant, not too adorned but with gentle details. Proportion is important. Lines interplay with weight. I try to keep my work diverse and fresh. A light touch and thoughtful approach go farther than following the latest trend. Each project is different; a blend of ideas between craftsman and client. A design may be driven by a budget or by the batch of wood at hand. Perhaps the setting of a home begs for a certain tone. It should be a creative process for all parties involved. While I’m most content designing my own work directly with clients, I’m happy to work with other designers, builders or architects. Larger projects with a unified aesthetic can be a rewarding collaboration.