I have known a lot of custom woodworkers in my lifetime. In fact, I’m really lucky because several of the wooden pieces of furniture that I have in my home were custom-designed and built for me by the creative people in my life. However, I have to admit that there is a custom woodworker that I don’t know and who I would really like to meet. His name is Jake Cress and he makes a variety of different beautiful pieces of traditional furniture which derive their style from eighteenth century furniture design. What I really love though is a series of work that he has done called animated furniture.
Cress’s animated furniture also has a basis in terrific classical furniture design. It is flawlessly executed and you can tell just by looking at it that the maker has a lot of technical skill. However, what I love about this furniture is that you can also tell that this man has a great sense of humor and a totally creative side. His animated furniture takes the usual pieces of furniture and puts a twist on them. He has a chair with three solid legs and then one curved leg which reaches out to grab a wooden ball placed beneath it on the floor. He has a twisty-curvy grandfather clock with a caricature-based face. And he even has a chair that’s designed as a self portrait which is something that you just don’t see from most furniture makers.
Cress is an example of the kind of artist I want to know and the type of artist that I would aspire to be in my own work. He does what he does and he does it very well. If he was asked to create a very traditional piece of classic furniture then he would clearly have no difficulty doing so. However he doesn’t take his work too seriously, a fact which we can see from his tongue-in-cheek approach to the whimsical designs that show up in his animated furniture collection. So very cool!
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