For me, connecting with people is the joy in what I do. We can find great communication and understand across inexepressible lines when art is our medium. My favorite artistic medium is Fine Furniture. As humans, we constantly interact with furniture from the day we are born. We spend much of our lives interacting with cheap, mass produced garbage. We live in a world of excess, and it has come to pass that quality is the exception rather than the rule. Perhaps this was always so...we only see what endures from the past. It is a constant in our experience...and I am grateful to share myself with you in that spirit.
I began woodworking at the age of 8. My first project was a toy knife. I asked for a bandsaw for a gift on my 10th birthday. I requested the same gift for 2 subsequent holidays until it was received. By age 12, I had setup a small workshop for myself in the garage of my father's home in Elmhurst, IL. My upbringing afforded me a lot of freedom with my time, and I chose to spend much of it in my workshop. I made toys for neighborhood kids, gifts for family members, and who knows how many projects that ended up in the trash, because I was clueless. But this too was good, and "smashy-smashy" time is very healthy for...everyone actually.
In this same general time period, I began taking industrial technology at my junior high, and a close family friend who was contracted to finish our basement taught my how to build, think, measure, cut, and consider. I stayed late at school to learn how to weld, since it had fallen out of curriculum, I worked weekends with my mentor disassembling mechanical parts to get higher value at the scrap yard. I rented books from the library and taught myself various skills.
My hobby continued through high school and college, but during high school, something changed. I was walking to Peterson's Ice Cream in Oak Park one day, and walked past David Orth's Chicago Ave. Studio. There was something about the pieces in the window that gripped me. I said aloud "That's what wood was meant for. That's what I want to do."
From that moment, I was drawing furniture in my notebooks during class. Through a top tier private high school and a liberal arts college, I somehow managed to skate by largely on talent as I devoted some silent passion of woodworking to every free moment of an already overpacked life.
My career has led me through a forest of factories, workshops, schools, and job sites where I have always brought my passion for building, learning, and teaching. My dedication to quality was not always shared by my employers.
So I set myself to the challenge of living up to my own standards. I have learned through "The riddle of craft"* that beauty is never without cost, that we are nothing without God, and that the interminable linkage of absolute and analytical truths is unfailing in all of life.
The blade cannot slice that which cannot be divided.
With every project: I learn new skills and expand my knowledge base, improve my communication with clients, and produce amazing works that help make the world a more comforting place. In myself and my life, my art and workshop is my hermitage where I go to spend time with God, channel the divine, and experience connection with humanity in our understanding of beauty, awe, splendor, raw emotion, refined sentiment and all the things we connect with on so many levels that make a piece of furniture, furnishing, or fine art worth it's cost to us.