I love both designing pieces and making them. I also enjoy the challenge of designing something creative, unique and beautiful that also has specific practical requirements that must be met. To design and craft a piece that is pleasing to myself and to the people who will live with it and use it, is often the source of my best work. Whether it is someone's front entrance, or an interesting piece of furniture, designing with someone else in mind, who they are, how they feel about things and the environment they live in, is for me a creative challenge that I enjoy.
Being a designer/craftsman allows me not only to work with my hands, which I love, but to draw on all my resources. Whether it is drawing, carving, sculpting, carpentry, or fine woodworking, all these areas come together when I create a design. You might say that a person can be a very good craftsmen without being a good designer, but one cannot be a very good designer without being a craftsman. Good design involves good craft. Knowing what the medium is capable of, how it behaves and what will work and what will not is essential. Many years ago, another fine woodworker, a real master at his craft, was very helpful to me. Although he was a much better woodworker than I was at the time, he really encouraged me to pursue what I was doing because he felt I had a very unique approach. He was amazed at the designs I came up with, something he felt he could never do. So many years later, being rooted firmly in proper woodworking techniques, I now love creating designs that not only challenge my skills but also challenge the usual approach to a particular situation. I love the exploration of what is possible in order to create a desired effect. "Truth to the material" as the sculptor Henry Moore used to say. I like the notion of blurring the distinction between art and craft, without losing the craft.
Although many of my designs are quite fluid and free flowing, I draw inspiration from the Shakers. Their simple designs that solve practical problems in unique ways is a spirit I much admire. I like the clean uncomplicated lines of their woodworking. Even though my designs are often more fluid and organic, I like to keep the lines clean, and simple. Sometimes a situation calls for something different as was the case with the front entrance for a house in Whistler BC called "Crystal Cove". Large pillars and massive structures demanded a much more "bulky" approach to the front entrance and so the results there were quite different. All this to say that having a preferred style does not mean being limited by it.
I love creating unique one of a kind pieces because it allows me to put love and care into each piece. Having spent time producing cabinetry in a modern setting, where knowledge and mastery of woodworking techniques can actually be a hindrance to production, it brings real joy to myself and to the people I sell my work to when I can apply all my knowledge and skill to create pieces that are both beautiful and long lasting. I like to believe that the love and energy I put into a piece actually stays with the piece.