Each week we feature a member on our web site and promote them through our social media accounts and weekly emails.
After a half-hearted attempt at a law degree, Alf Sharp discovered his true vocation in fine furnituremaking. Thirty-five years later he’s still at it with as much enthusiasm as at the beginning. Almost all work is done on a custom commission basis, in close collaboration with clients and their designers. Specializing in 18th and 19th Century American and European design, Sharp also enjoys Beidermeier, Art Deco, Chinese, and contemporary design. His own original work has, most often, at least a toe-hold in tradition. Sharp has pieces in historical homes and museums throughout the US, as well as in fine private homes nationally. He is the recipient of the 2008 Cartouche award from The Society of American Period Furniture Makers. He is past President of the Furniture Society. When not absorbed in the woodshop or playing with his grandchildren, he enjoys restoring and driving classic British sportscars.
Find Alf on the web: http://www.alfredsharp.com/
Artist and teacher Travis Townsend draws, builds, rebuilds, paints, and tinkers upon wood and mixed media sculptures in his Lexington, Kentucky studio. His process-oriented works evolve from sketches and travel through many transformations before being cut apart, reassembled, and reworked (sometimes many years later). Parts are often transplanted or recycled.
He has been a resident artist at Penland School of Craft, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Vermont Studio Center, and Peters Valley School. His awards include an Emerging Artist Grant from the American Craft Council, a fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, three sculpture grants from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation, and recent travel grants from the Great Meadows Foundation.
Find Travis on the web: https://travistownsendart.com/…
Fred Rose is a self-employed artist living in Costa Mesa, California. He has been making wood sculpture for the last 25 years. He is influenced by the writings of Eric Sloan and John Seymour, and the works of such artists as Noguchi, David Nash, Martin Puryear, Guiseppe Penone, and his own childhood along the river and in the forest.
Fred Rose is interested in how the spectrum of traditions in wood from utilitarian woodworking, wood sculpture, and folk art can act as visual poetry about the nature of the physical world or the quirks of being human.
Find Fred on the web: https://www.facebook.com/fred.…
Designer, maker, and educator Sharon C. Mehrman is based in Florence, Massachusetts, where she owns and operates a one-woman workshop. Her work has been juried into nationally recognized museum exhibitions and craft shows, and she received the 2015 Popular Woodworking Magazine Woodworking Excellence Award for her piece The Thread Chest. She holds a Master’s of Design and a Graduate Certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Sharon brings over 30 years’ practical experience as a designer and woodworker to her work as a researcher and historian of material culture, historic woodworking trades, tools, and technology. She is a research fellow at Winterthur in Delaware and is the Director of the Master Furniture Program at Hill Institute in Florence, Massachusetts, where she teaches woodworking and furniture making.
Find Sharon on the web: https://www.sharonmakesfurniture,com/
“I design one-of-a-kind and short-run pieces mostly on commission, focusing on quality joinery, solid wood, modern lines, and often inspired by Islamic traditions. Beston Barnett Design is based in San Diego.”
Find Beston on the web: http://bestonbarnett.com/
I am a self-taught maker specializing in custom, client-centric furniture and accessories. My design goal is to attain just the right equilibrium between form, function, art, and craft. My original designs blend the essences of basic Asian and contemporary aesthetics, with a fluency in the vocabulary of modernism. I enjoy working cooperatively with clients in an interactive design process, creating pieces that are at once relevant to the client, their space, and their lifestyle; that are functional; that display a high level of craftsmanship; and that include something of my own personal aesthetic. I use hand-selected domestic and imported hardwoods, choice softwoods, and accenting in shell, metal, and glass.
Find Michael on the web: https://www.msfinewoodworking.…
“I am from Wisconsin and started woodworking while an undergrad at UW-Madison, eventually earning a BS in Art. I built cabinets and furniture in London, UK, Rockland, ME, Milwaukee, WI, and San Diego, CA. I attended grad school at San Diego State University and earned an MFA in Art specializing in Furniture Design. I have taught a class or two at UMass Dartmouth, Anderson Ranch, Haystack, Penland, and Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. Now I teach full-time in the Woodworking Manufacturing Technologies Department at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California”
Find Reuben on the web: http://www.reubenfoat.com/
Maggie Sasso is a Milwaukee based artist producing conceptual bodies of work that express macro-cosmic ideas through microcosmic detail and examine the role of material culture in relationship to our collective past. Her installations are tactile and penetrable, employing Great Lakes maritime culture as a catalyst to plunge us into narratives of emotional and uncanny vastness. Using fiber art and textiles techniques to stand in for traditionally hard-bodied forms, and presenting objects as theatrical props and material relics, Sasso considers the balance between difficult tragedy and humorous optimism and regards ordinary stories from Midwestern characters as reverent legends.
Sasso has exhibited nationally, with solo exhibitions in Madison, WI, Portland, OR, Lexington, KY and Milwaukee, WI, and group exhibitions across the US and Canada, most notably at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, where she was a Exhibiting Artist in Residence, and the Haggerty Museum of Art. In 2015 she was the recipient of a Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists. Sasso is a full time artist, her studio is located @ VarWest.
Maggie served on the Board of Trustees of the Furniture Society from 2014 – 2019 and as the Student Representative from 2004-05.
Find Maggie on the web: http://www.maggiesasso.com/
… and on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maggiesasso/
Santa Fe, NM, based furniture maker is also a working anthropologist:
“As an anthropologist and woodworker, I strive to let the ideas and experience of the client guide the design and process of creating a piece of art or furniture. Designing a piece and working the materials into final form both play their parts in the lived experience of the maker and the client. I like to conduct an ethnography, of sorts, of a potential space for my work to reside- the aesthetic and experience of the client, the lived-in space, how a piece will be interacted with, observed and connected with — all these guide design. Over the past 20 years I have worked as an anthropologist doing public health research and development in West Africa and continue with that work today (www.couffo.org). My studio is in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Shauna and I live with our two dogs, Kroeber and Lola.”
Find James on the web: http://www.studiojleslie.com/
Christopher Poehlmann has been designing and manufacturing studio furniture and decorative lighting since 1985. Currently living and working in Philadelphia, PA, he has served two terms on the FS Board of Trustees. A lifelong advocate of fine craft, Poehlmann makes no apologies for his obsession with making fake wood objects.
Find Chris on the web: http://www.cplighting.com/
Stephen Yusko’s studio is located in Cleveland, OH, where he creates forged, machined and fabricated steel vessels, furniture and sculpture. Yusko has taught at several schools and universities, including Haystack School of Crafts (ME), Penland School of Crafts (NC), and SUNY Purchase, where he was a Windgate Artist-in-Residence; and served on the Board of Trustees for the Haystack School. He has exhibited his work widely including the Metal Museum (TN) and the Ruthin Craft Centre (Wales, UK) and has received three Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Awards and a Cuyahoga County Creative Workforce Fellowship Award. See more on Instagram and Facebook at @StephenYuskoStudios.
Find Stephen on the web: http://www.stephenyusko.com/
Born and raised in Western North Carolina, I helped my grandfather in his woodworking shop as a child and learned traditional Southern handcrafts and painting from my grandmothers. Close ties to my family and a love of the mountains kept me in WNC even after earning a BFA and K‑12 teaching licensure from UNC-Asheville. After working for a local craftsman for a number of years, I enrolled in the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College and began focusing solely on woodworking. While my art has gone through several transitions over the years, it has remained rooted in my relationship with my loved ones, so much so that I named my studio after my two grandmothers. As a real home is built piece by piece, my work is created layer by layer out of wood and paint. The memories and happiness that stem from reflection upon my family and childhood, and that create a sense of home, are interpreted through color, texture, and pattern. These elements are layered with geometric shapes to convey a sense of depth and history, sometimes a likeness to an actual“home,” but most importantly, joy.
Find Valerie on the web: http://laurainelilliestudios.c…
Jonah Neumann is a third year student in the Craft and Design program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.
“For me, it’s starting from a sketch, transitioning to a design, then to the process of turning a pile of rough lumber into something beautiful and functional. This and the constant challenge of making design decisions and working out fabrication methods is what makes my job endlessly exciting.
With a distinct modern approach to design and a large focus on quality of work, I seek to make unique, forward thinking pieces that stand out, yet are considerate of their environment.”
Find Jonah on the web: Instagram: jonah.neumann
Cameron Block is a designer-maker from St. Catharines, Ontario. He is currently a student enrolled in the Craft & Design: Furniture program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.
“I enjoy the unique problem-solving challenges that wood poses. Creating forms that are comfortable, beautiful, and functional is something that I always strive for. When starting a new project, I identify skills that I want to develop and design pieces that will challenge me to grow out of my comfort zone. The pieces often end up showcasing the method by which they were created, flaws and all. When I look back at these pieces, they have an endearing quality that captures the spirit of learning and growth.”
Find Cameron on the web: https://www.instagram.com/camb…
A designer/maker from Oakville, Ontario, Neda is a student at Sheridan college pursuing a bachelor’s degree in craft and design. Her work focuses primarily on comfortable, functional designs that interact seamlessly with the human body. Neda has a deep appreciation for the extensive processes of woodworking and she is committed to producing high quality work that is timeless in its design.
I am a designer/maker from Burlington, Ontario. I am embarking on a second career and am currently enrolled in the Craft and Design Furniture program at Sheridan College. Having left a career in the financial industry, where being creative was frowned upon, I am enjoying exercising my design and creative muscles in furniture design. I am drawn towards designs and pieces that are solid, strong, and have a presence.
Isabel Catalli is a designer and maker from Mississauga ON. She is currently enrolled in the Craft and Design program at Sheridan College. Her work is influenced by the body, how it moves and how it connects with objects. Each piece is designed with not just a functional purpose but with added elements intended to interact with the body in a certain way. Isabel uses flowing forms in her work to invite the user to connect to each piece. Her designs aim to incorporate texture and gestural curves as they embrace luxury and comfort.
Find Isabel on the web: https://www.instagram.com/icat…
Michael Puryear is a self-taught, nationally acclaimed furniture designer, and maker who mastered his craft through reading and experimentation. Imaginative and discerning clients will enjoy working with this thoughtful, highly creative designer/maker to address their furniture needs.
Michael Puryear’s designs are infused with“shibui”, the Japanese term for simple elegance. His disciplined designs often include curved elements and contrasting woods. Michael works primarily in wood because of its warmth and appeal to the hand.
The inspired elegance of Michael Puryear’s furniture can compliment any modern, contemporary or eclectic environment. He is based in Shokan, NY.
Find Michael on the web: http://www.michaelpuryear.com/
“From an early age I have been obsessed with making. I learned the joy and compulsion for handcrafting from my parents; I grew up working countless hours alongside my parents either in the garage, woodshop, or building site. Growing up on an old farm in Northern Illinois there was always a machine to fix, a car to repair, or a board to replace. I left the Mid West to attend college on the East Coast and received a bachelor’s degree in media theory from Brown University in Providence, RI. Those four years of studying critical theory continue to inform and inspire me. I have worked designing and building custom furniture independently and collaboratively since 2005. In 2017 I earned an MFA in Furniture Design and Woodworking at San Diego State University and focused on reconciling my degree in critical theory with my compulsion to make objects. My studio practice is research and concept-driven yet firmly grounded in the craft of furniture.”
Peter is currently Windgate Assistant Professor of Woodworking at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Find Peter on the web: http://www.peterscheidt.com/
Originally from Florida, Joel Scilley studied art, architecture, and design in New York and Europe and earned a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies. Following these studies, Joel began working as a designer/carpenter/woodworker in 1997. Over time, his carpentry shifted towards fine woodworking, and he made my first turntable and founded Audiowood in 2008.
Joel was named a“Person to Watch” and a“Tech Designer to Watch” by New Orleans Magazine and Apartment Therapy, respectively. He won“Most Unique Work” awards at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest in 2015 and 2018, was a finalist in Etsy’s 2019 Global Design Competition, and won“Best of Show” at The Green Project’s Salvations 2019 salvaged design competition.
Joel has lived in New Orleans since 2013.
Educator, designer, and maker Chris Martin is based in Ames, Iowa, where he is currently Professor of Art and Visual Culture at Iowa State University. He holds a BFA in Craft Design (ISU 1990) and an MFA in Furniture Design (RISD 1994). In addition to his teaching duties at ISU, Chris has designed and produced furniture pieces for both commission and gallery exhibitions. In 2008 Chris and his wife,Tammi, took leave from ISU for two years of service as U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers in the West African country of Ghana. More recently Chris was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, spending five months in India working with traditional artisans and modern craftspeople to develop a series of contemporary furniture pieces that pay reverence to the richness of India’s traditional craft culture.
Find Chris on the web: http://chrismartinfurniture.co…
Based in Winston-Salem, NC, Bruce Bradford is a furniture designer who is crafting unique works with an artistic and functional significance. Inspired by mid-century Danish furniture, he likes to incorporate sculptural elements into each piece, with the intention of making them“functional works of art”. Born in 1960 in Western Michigan, he obtained a BS in Packaging Engineering from Michigan State University in 1982. He then moved to Winston Salem, NC in 1983 to work at RJ Reynolds Tobacco International. He began his professional woodworking career in 1999 when he received his first commission, a free standing wooden spiral staircase. In 2000 and 2001 he traveled to Anderson Ranch Art Center in Colorado to attend classes led by Sam Maloof sparking his passion for chair making. In 2002 he left RJ Reynolds Tobacco International and concentrated full time on making and designing furniture. Over his career he has created over 225 pieces.
Find Bruce on the web: http://www.bradfordcustomfurni…
Rachel David is a Waynesville, NC based blacksmith, sculptor, designer, and maker. Her metalwork practice is holistic; encompassing art, furniture, architectural elements, activism, collaborations, and gardening. The work focuses on social and environmental justice, community, and communication; analyzing the many layers of colonization, restraints, and expectations across bodies and landscapes. She has exhibited work nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions. Her work has been published in numerous books and magazines and is included in the collections of the City of New Orleans, the Simone Benetton Foundation, and numerous private individuals.
Find Rachel on the web: http://www.redmetal.net/