I’ve always been a maker of one thing or the other, a tinkerer, a builder, a dumpster diver and general scavenging (if not resourceful) packrat. When I became interested in building things with wood (originally tree houses), I was also flat broke and living in Brooklyn, New York after graduating from Pratt Institute so scavenging materials became the name of the game.
After collecting and ‘reclaiming’ old lumber from all over NYC and surrounding areas to build an indoor ‘treehouse’ in a friends gallery, I was stuck inside for the winter and started passing the time by designing table tops, decorative panels, etc with my leftover lumber. In a kind of happy accident, that work was seen by a company that needed a number of display tables for their retail stores and asked me to get to work. The only guidelines were that they had to be round, either 42 or 60 inches in diameter, sanded smooth enough that customers wouldn’t leave with splinters (fair enough), and each design should be more or less unique from the others.
So, with my first commission, (much less a large one to create upwards of a dozen pieces that would get national exposure to the public all over the country) and pretty much complete creative freedom to make whatever came into my head, I got cracking. No sweat, right? I had no idea what I would make and how each would turn out until I could look at the finished product. And because I was using my salvaged wood with finite amounts of each distinct board, every table top became a kind of puzzle to create the design I had in mind with the tones and colors of the wood I had left.
After I had finished a few designs I realized I was starting to pull inspiration from old quilt patterns I have always loved. Although I haven’t lived there in years, I was raised in Birmingham, Alabama and still have a nostalgic little corner of my heart reserved for the South and the things that make it unique. That being said, I began to use quilt designs more consciously in my work and many of the pictures below are the result.
Whether directly influenced by quilt patterns or less obviously so, this is the work I made out of salvaged wood for The Frye Boot Company and my first paycheck as my own company, Made By Woodhand. Hope you enjoy.