The cup has been waiting for a plate for years. This summer the opportunity came to carve one, and to send them both together to their new home with my friend Robbie Pruitt.
Below is a gallery of images of a pair of cabinets built for the bathroom of a couple in Wichita. They are constructed from native (specifically South Eastern Kansas) black walnut, solid and veneered, and white oak. The exterior surfaces were “ebonized” using a process which employs the chemical reaction of an iron solution with tannins in the wood, rendering it black. The design of cranes and bamboo were carved into the surface revealing again the natural color of the walnut in the incised lines. I hired Taylor Johnson to build the casework itself. Using traditional methods, the interior framework is a solid skeleton held together with dovetail and mortise and tenon joints. Taylor fabricated plywood with extra thick shop-made walnut veneer to be able to handle carving without passing through to the inner layers. His focus and skill allowed me to give attention to the design challenges and the artwork and carving and exterior finishing the cabinets. My gratitude goes out to Taylor for his tenacity and dedication to excellence, and also to Steve Hebert, who generously gave his time and energy to brilliantly photograph the cabinets in situ.
These images document a build in its early stage of a family of black walnut tables, centered around a richly grained and beautifully colored walnut tree which we salvaged from a farm near Winfield, Kansas. The tables are a collaboration between my best friend/business partner and myself, sharing designing and building tasks to create, what we hope, are some authentically good pieces of furniture in the continuing tradition of live-edge/natural-slab furniture.
Carved from figured hard maple, the bowl was composed around two golden ratio (1.618) spirals.
After about five months the Champion Table is finished and in its new home outside of Chicago. The woods in this table are Kansas Black Walnut and White Oak (the base uses oak from Kansas, the top uses oak of lesser known origin, beyond my friend, the lumber man), the top features also a small amount of Ebony and sulfur. The design is original, and evolved throughout the building process. Central, is a crucifixion theme and the arc. There are other symbolic elements as well, throughout. I am deeply grateful to the Champion family for the opportunity to build a significant piece of furniture for their home and living. I am also humbled and thankful for all the encouragement I have received throughout the building process. Ultimately I am glad in my heart, laboring to make something that celebrates the goodness of God.