From the time I was about 8 years old I knew I was going to be an artist. I always thought that it would be in the realm of landscape painting and drawing. Then in my early 20’s I discovered James Krenov’s books on “The Fine Art of Cabinet Making.” I had never considered that art could take the form of the things we use everyday. I could hardly put the book down and found myself reading everything he wrote, one book after the other.
As I was pondering how to begin as a woodworker I discovered a book by John Alexander titled “Make a Chair From a Tree,” a simple approach to the early ways of greenwood chair-making. That was it. I saw in John’s chairs everything I liked about Krenov’s approach, sensitivity to the material, a mastery of the tools, and unlimited possibilities for creative artistry.
I set up my first shop with $50 worth of old hand tools and made my first chair in the winter of 1983. When my neighbor saw it, he ordered a set of them for his gallery. I have been filling orders ever since. Chair making has provided me with my livelihood, and has excited a stream of creative energy that has filled me with seemingly endless ideas for new chair and tools designs, as well as methods for making them all.
My chair work has led me to some wonderful opportunities. I have enjoyed teaching chair-making to indigenous tribes in Honduras and Peru as well as craftsmen young and old in Canada, England and the US. I have designed spokeshaves for companies in the US and Canada, and engineered and built much of my own specialty equipment. I enjoy all of it!
I don’t think I will ever tire of making beautiful furniture. Even so, after many years of creative success, one of the things I enjoy most is teaching other craftsmen the skills and providing the opportunity to use those skills in a professional environment.