How did you get your start in woodworking?
I was an English major in college and had dabbled in art and design. When I read an article
in a Foxfire book about a chair maker I began to think about
woodworking and furniture. I searched around my hometown in Nebraska and
someone suggested I visit Denver to find someone to work with.
I moved west.
Tell about your chair start and design.
started making seating and chairs in 1969. I now make a group of chairs
that I describe as "the Handmade Ergonomic Chair Series". I prefer to
work in domestic woods and learning about each wood's idiosyncrasies and
strengths as they relate to chair making.
Although chairs are my specialty, I enjoy design challenges of most kinds.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
is both a challenge and a satisfying part of this work. You need
clients and since I chose to live in a very rural area all of my work
goes elsewhere and I must go out in the world and peddle my wares. As a
furniture maker I now realize how much of a service job this is. When I
started out I thought you designed good pieces and people would buy them
if they were good enough. I now think you try to design good pieces and
you meet people and provide lots of interaction and work toward
fulfilling their expectations.
How many different hats do you have to wear as an artist/craftsman?
Designer/artist, craftsman, laborer, photographer, salesman, boss, fix that which is broke, mentor
What is your advice to someone just starting out?
and make things that you really like and figure out a way to sell them.
Work with someone established if you can find someone. And most
importantly, make things for your family and relatives and try to
convince them to pay for the materials and allow yourself some time to
develop a sense of personal style. Go to a school like the College of
the Redwoods in California if you can get in.
Quilted Maple Cabinet