M Burgess Soap Dish
All my projects begin with the conjunction of a particular piece of wood and either an idea already working in my head or a new idea inspired by that piece of wood. My primary bent is for the practical-what use is a piece? Hence: furniture. However age seems to be easing my practical nature with an appreciation of wit and occasionally the sublime.
I began working with wood in about 1990. My partner was an industrial designer and had a shop full of wood and metal working tools. Both patient and brave, he taught me how to use the tools and then stepped back and let me use them for whatever I wanted to make. Because I live in the country, the wood I use is primarily oak, plenty of which has fallen and is available for the milling. I prefer it to commercial wood because of its more interesting figure, its flaws and its wane (the natural outside shape of the tree left on a board rather than squared off of it) Most of my pieces incorporate at least one of these three characteristics.
M Burgess cabinet
While I enjoy different kinds of furniture, making something that’s been done before no longer interests me. Since our eye is drawn to what we don’t expect, I think incorporating the unexpected into our surroundings helps us to see. I hope that other women will also see that it is possible for us-women-to make our own built environment.