In 8th grade shop class I made an Adirondack chair so elegant and finely crafted that the shop teacher stole it for himself, I allege. Jaded, I turned my attention towards academia, and a promising future as a knowledge worker in the age of information. In 2009, having achieved my goal of "some college," the time was ripe to move back in with my parents and await inspiration. When a friend mentioned she needed a writing desk and chair tailor made for her Manhattan micro-apartment, I was more than ready to heed the call.
A masterpiece, to be sure, but with one or two gaps in my expertise exposed, I headed off to the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship to patch them up. There, under the instruction of Brian Reid, Austin Matheson, Adrian Ferrazzutti, and Tim Rousseau, several things became clear: First, that I was not a very good furnituremaker. Second, that furnituremaking is endlessly challenging, antithetical to wealth, almost entirely obsolete, and yes not even a real word. And finally, that for better or worse this antiquated craft had struck a chord with me, and would now be my career.
Since completing the program, my career in furnituremaking has at times looked conspicuously like a career in construction labor, and for several stretches, no career at all. In 2012, however, I found my way into one of the elusive entry-level furnituremaker positions at Custom Furniture Design in San Francisco, CA. As one of five woodworkers, I build from plans drawn up collaboratively by my boss (see below) and many of the premier design firms in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Each project is custom and one-off, essentially a functional prototype, so the typical methods of production don't apply. The result is that one person makes one piece start to finish, a woodworker's dream job. In my spare time, I can often be found at work, building much more modest pieces of my own design.