Sunday, November 9, 2008

Furniture I Love: Timothy Coleman Edition

I'm happy to feature the work of a fellow English major, Timothy Coleman. Timothy got his training at the College of the Redwoods and that is obvious in the level of craftsmanship in his furniture. I see it in the faired curves, the proportions and the precisely fitted, coopered doors. But beyond that, he has his own particular style.

He gets all the big stuff right, but then adds so much to each piece by supplying incredible details. I'm fascinated by the way he adds patterns to his work. Be sure to check out the publications section on his website, where he has teasers of articles he's written for Fine Woodworking explaining his technique. You can find the full articles online if you have a subscription to

Try to imagine these pieces without the patterns to see if they stand up without them. While it's impossible to do, it's still a good exercise. I'm sure the pieces would still be amazing, but the patterns actually make you appreciate the structure of each piece that much more by leading your eye around the perimeter or the interior, depending on where he places the patterns. The patterns make you look at these pieces in a fresh way.

I'm particularly impressed at how he uses woods like yew and English sycamore to add subtle contrasts. I tend to resort to the knock-you-over-the-head, dark-vs.-light contrast in my own work, so it's helpful to see how subtle grades of darkness and lightness can make a piece of furniture richer and more balanced.

Timothy has a great website, so be sure to check out all the sections. You can see more of his work at

Photo credits: "Yew and Me" by Charley Freiburg, "Criss Cross" by Will Elwell and "Temple Cabinet" by Dean Powell.