From a short bio I wrote a little while ago:
Wood is like gemstone. It is a precious, organic material that can be used for pedestrian industrial purposes, or it can be carefully faceted, polished, and set to reveal the greatest color, figure, and clarity. Unlike many gemstones though, wood is plentiful among us, and it can be composed in forms to satisfy the most vital human needs. As a designer and craftsman, I act as steward to this vital resource, seeking to honor it through my attention and skill.
I’m drawn most to the ‘modern’ aesthetics of the mid-twentieth century, and I feel that these clear, minimal forms are the best means of showcasing the beauty of the wood. Construction is a mixture of contemporary technique and traditional joinery with great care taken to ensure these works endure over many future generations.
My process seeks always to minimize negative ecological impact by sourcing sustainable domestic wood species, namely: Walnut, Maple, and Cherry, and I relish every opportunity to make use of local trees otherwise destined for the fireplace or the landfill. Because I work only with solid woods, a scratch, a dented corner, or a worn armrest will not reveal an inferior material hidden beneath a thin layer of veneer. Rather, marks of wear on a piece of J. Rusten furniture will only serve to demonstrate it’s value as a beloved functional object.
Every piece of furniture is finished with a low-toxic, hand-rubbed, linseed or tung oil. Much attention is given toward showcasing the most beautiful section of each cut of wood. Occasionally, features like knotholes, cracks, and mineral streaking are highlighted in celebration of the organic nature of the material.
This will be a venue for thoughts on process, technique, intent, and other ideas related to furniture-as-art.
For now, enjoy this short film my friend David Thompson shot back in 2005 to document the construction of one of my early chair designs.
photo by Neil Barrett for Taylor Stitch, Charlie the bird appears courtesy of Laura Stevenson.