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Russell Baldon

Portfolio Reviewer

sculptor + furniture maker

Russell Baldon

Description of my Practice

I am a sculptor and furniture maker who was born and raised in California. My work is focused on examining how everyday objects communicate ideas and concepts to us and are a reflection of our culture as a whole. Through my investigations I have sought to not only recognize but also manipulate this nonverbal language of design.

My current line of interest investigates how common objects including toys, chalkboards, mirrors, display boxes define our personal beliefs. My goal is to provide the visual tools for my audience to question and dismantle a variety of preconceived assumptions about our immediate world.

My Background

I was a partner in my family's wooden toy business before moving to San Francisco in 1984. After receiving my BFA in Wood/Furniture from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1992 and my MFA in Wood/Furniture from San Diego State University in 1998, I studied and worked with some of the country's leading studio furniture makers, including Garry Knox Bennett, Gail Fredell, Kim Kelzer, Thom Loeser and Wendy Maruyama. In 1999, I helped to form a cooperative studio in Alameda, CA where members pursue many commissioned and speculative furniture and sculptural works in a 5,000-square-foot wood and metal shop. Since 2002, I have taught in the furniture program at California College of the Arts and I served as chair of the program from 2009 to 2020. I have also had the honor of teaching at Laney College’s Wood Technology Program (Oakland, CA), Haystack School of Craft (Deer Isle, ME), Penland School of Crafts (Spruce Pine, NC), Anderson Ranch Arts Center (Snowmass Village, CO), San Diego State University (San Diego, CA) and the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts (Portland, OR). My work has been included in group exhibitions in California at the Oakland Museum of California, Laguna Art Museum, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, LIMN Gallery, Fort Mason Center, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, Tercera Gallery, Oliver Art Center, and Forthrite Gallery, and in group exhibitions nationally and internationally including the Saskatchewan Crafts Council (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada) the Wood Turning Center (Philadelphia, PA), the Lexington Art League (Lexington, KY), and the Society of Arts and Crafts (Boston, MA).


I am very interested in encouraging personal expression through one’s work. Looking for through-lines and how furniture can act as a portrait of it’s maker is something I really find exciting. I have a long history of toy making and making / teaching simple mechanisms as well. My career has allowed me to work with and guide hundreds of furniture makers and artists in a vast array of skill levels - from absolute beginners to the extremely accomplished. Personally the wilder the better…

Conference Sessions