My studio is my sacred space. It is where I create, think and design. This environment is a reflection of what is important to me and inspires me. The space is filled with the texture of tradition and history from the 19th century structure of the shop to the period machinery to the patterns that line the walls of my more than 35 years in this trade. I am also proud to have the recently acquired sign and patterns from my predecessor, Mr. de la Cruz; my mentor and first teacher.
It is said that we cannot know where we are going without having an understanding of the past. This I appreciate.
The bench room is the original shop space on the property. It is where I was apprenticed and where Mr. de la Cruz established his business. He built this part of the shop in the mid 1950's. Ten years after I bought this property in 1985, I acquired a 19th century mill building. A high posted timber frame building built in 1896 as a warehouse for the Gilmanton Mills in Belmont, NH.
When demolition of this building was imminent I took it apart with the help of several friends and moved it to be attached to the original shop building. This new part is now the old part! In addition to its own history it is also the perfect environment to house and display my extensive collection of New Hampshire made woodworking machinery.
I've been collecting this old 1880-1910 vintage machinery since I was a teenager, partly out of interest and partly out of necessity. When you are young money or the lack of it is an obstacle. To buy industrial grade machinery can be a real challenge unless you're willing to buy what many consider obsolete antiques. Old machines have their challenges and also their rewards.
I have focused my collecting on New Hampshire made machines; specifically those made by the John A. White Company of Concord and Dover, NH. This was a rather small company but grew to respectable size and became one of the most notable New England based firms producing this type of product.
I have over two dozen different models in the collection. My goal is to get much of it running on the old line-shaft, pulley and flat belt system that was prominent industrially throughout the 1800's and well into the 1900's.
My joy in using this stuff is of a visual nature. These pieces are very visual and sculptural. These forms are balanced and graceful appearing almost delicate at times yet being more than substantial. They reflect a pride in design and manufacture, all of which I attempt to imbue in my work.