Function and Form. Usefulness and Beauty. I don't seem to want to find a balance between the two. For better or for worse, I insist on both.



  As a craftsman, I am at the mercy of two previous generations who yammered at me constantly "Either you do it right or don't bother doing it at all." Practically speaking, this means doing every piece of work with three benchmarks at the fore:
1. long-lasting. Doing the work so that when a piece needs more work in 40 years (or 140 years) it can be restored again. And again.
2. extremely useful. In the case of a repair, a piece regains ALL of it's usefulness.
3. beautiful. To look at and to use.
  It is a small studio here, so I suppose I can insist on these things.

  The custom furniture-making that goes on here is done in the manner of a guild. Of sorts. One that spans time and space in its involvement of various craftspeople. Take the Indian Carved Catalog Table, shown at right, and below. A studio somewhere out in Ohio, makes rail-and-stile frame and panel doors for cabinets. They shipped one of their large cabinets to a U.C. Berkeley department where it eventually fell to disuse, and on to the auction block, before arriving here.


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  Another group of craftspeople in India carve rosewood into very intricate designs for room-divider screens. One of these ended up here, thanks to Craigslist, an importer and so on. Another workshop in Illinois made the library card catalog bureau, and another made oak desks with very nice quartersawn tops---all of which had seen years of use at the university. By the time they make it into my workshop they could be called "locally harvested wood" furniture.   With a minimum of cutting and re-sizing, and a maximum of design work on paper and in the flesh, the parts from these four workshops were fitted together.
Lower drawers where retrofitted for CD/DVD storage. Call it recycling if you need. But remember that this method is far less about recycling MATERIALS, and much more about coming up with a way to recycle the heavy investment of TIME and ENERGY and CRAFTSHIP already put in to these pieces by other furnituremakers. Not to mention making good use of the energy put into transporting them to the Bay Area years ago.

  A second aspect of the furniture-making here is to embellish and improve the poor designs of many useful modern gadgets, "reinventing" them, breathing more warmth and beauty into them. Like this portable cabinet for a mini stereo system, Desktop Music Cabinet, shown here with carrying-handle raised and speakers slid into their holders.

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