When I started making furniture, I designed the pieces, went to the lumberyard, and bought the wood I needed. It bothered me that I didn’t know where the wood came from, but I couldn’t think of any good alternatives. I had an epiphany, though, during a sojourn to Orcas Island. It was there that I really connected to my favorite material – not lumber, but TREES! Specifically, fallen trees. They were everywhere, felled by storms, disease, residential developers, and arborists. And they were waiting for me to give them new life as bowls, furniture, and sculpture. That trip, that epiphany, was the seed from which my current work has grown.
Since then my main studio has been in a log yard, a forested oasis in the middle of Seattle where my dog Maddy and my imagination both have plenty of room to roam. Now I know exactly where my wood comes from, and my designs evolve in response to the trees I find. The trees are collaborators instead of just materials. I can’t imagine a better way to work.
As destiny would have it I returned to Orcas Island and set up another studio in which to work. It is a world apart, isolated and set amidst a magical forest of fir and madrone trees, moss-covered rocks and such sweet, salty fresh air. I really do have the best of both worlds.
Education and Credentials
I started as an urban designer. But after eight years of working in a cubicle and wrestling with bureaucrats, I needed a more tangible way to bring quality and beauty to the built environment. So I quit my day job and went to woodworking and welding school. Over the years I’ve studied in Washington (Pratt Fine Arts Center), California (College of the Redwoods), North Carolina (Penland), Maine (Haystack), and Tennessee (Arrowmont). I opened my Seattle design and fabrication studio in 2000, and have never looked back.
When I’m not making bowls and furniture, I’m teaching others how to. Every spring, I co-teach the undergraduate Furniture Studio at the University of Washington's Architecture school. I also teach my own, non-accredited woodworking workshops.