I know it has been a while since the last “Method Behind”, I have sent out quite a few requests from people but I guess they are just to busy. Jeff Martin contacted me to see if his work would fit this format. I am glad that he did, I really like the style of his work. I think my favorite is when a handful of woods are used together, their are a pair of coffee tables that used claro walnut, bastogne walnut, english walnut, turned cherry and pearwood. Make sure to check out the rest of the interview.
Q: Who is?
Jeff Martin Joinery is a contemporary North American furniture company with a particular devotion to materials, craft, and tradition. We have a small team and are specialized in producing handcrafted designs with outstanding materials. Our central studio is in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Q: What is your background?
I apprenticed under Palo Samko in Brooklyn. Along with the educational experience it gave me time to consider and work out new designs. When I returned home to set up shop for myself I had consolidated a fairly distinct idea of the direction of our collections.
Q: What inspires you and influences your design choices?
I am inspired by materials, and am critical and discerning when I select material to work with. Also, I find a profound influence over my work is related to shape and composition of structure. The people who demonstrate a similar intense dedication to these elements are the people who most inspire me. They would be people like Palo, Alma Allen, Tyler Hays, Arik Levy, Jonah Meyer, Josh Vogel, Constantin Brancusi, JB Blunk, George Nakashima, and Ernst Gamperl. Not coincidentally, I have a personal “art list” of pieces which I love and want to collect over time. All of these people fall on that list, some of them may be more likely than others, but I have begun already. I own both a Palo Samko sculpture and an Alma Allen sculpture. I design my own works to reside and live with curated collections of these incredible artists.
Q: What is your preferred material to work with? Are there any materials that you would like to incorporate into future designs?
Bastogne Walnut. It’s a rare cross between California Claro Walnut and English Walnut. American botanist Luther Burbank wanted to create a fast growing hardwood and he spent a great deal of his career trying to perfect this hybrid. This tree is not naturally occurring in nature and therefore is quite rare, in French it translates to Bastard Walnut. It is difficult to work with, but the figuring is intensely beautiful. The lumber we get, when it comes onto the market, which again – is very rare; is quite often trees that Burbank himself, planted. I incorporate a small piece of Bastogne Walnut into every piece of furniture I build.
Q: What trends are you seeing in furniture design, good and bad?
Man, there are so many. Stools are huge right now, which is fantastic. It’s an overlooked element in the home. It also represents a great market for furniture builders because they offer a younger client, or someone new to purchasing high end furniture, a good starting point. They are also really fun to collect and serve as sculptural elements in your home as well.
It also seems that we are moving away from the brutally minimal work. I think simple is strong – but eliminating elements to the point of boredom has sort of been achieved. People love details, aberrations, and can relate to something that is constructed in a language that is logical and well executed. Simple elements of exposed joinery, or what we focus on – patchwork details – speaks to this.
Q: My favorite______is________
My favorite animal is a dog named Finnigan