Okay, so maybe I rarely look at a piece of furniture as a work of art or a work of art as a piece of furniture, but after walking into Clayton Thompsons’ Ivory Bill Workshop, I became aware it is possible. Smooth curves, rich hues and woodsy aromas could easily describe either a painting, a sculpture or a handcrafted chair or table, so what is it really? Art or furniture? According to Clayton Thompson, it is both.
Clayton started designing and producing furniture after he graduated from the Academy of Art school in San Francisco and after his first job working in a cabinet shop, he quickly realized his calling.
“I worked on my first piece in my spare time and my company promoted me to help design the cabinets. After they closed, my brother and I started our own shop and now I get to design, plan and build my own pieces.”
His Art School training shows. The chair fits perfectly in my hands and really looks like it would be as comfortable in a living room as it would in a museum. Running my hands over the wood, I couldn’t help but notice the smile on his saw dust covered face-he really enjoyed what he had created. “I know people can go out and buy less expensive cabinets with very few choices,” he said, sounding a bit dejected, “but I can design and build something custom to fit your space and personality.”
And just like the company name, which was once thought to be an extinct bird, Ivory Bill Workshop has brought back the lost art of furniture making.