STUDIO VISIT | SEAN WOOSLEY

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Artist and Furniture Maker, Costa Mesa, CA

"My work as a furniture maker began as a simple curiosity, combined with an appreciation of making I inherited from my father. Today, with a small team of creative woodworkers, we make pieces to age beautifully with you for the rest of your life. "

Q: Living in Costa Mesa you're a little bit off the beaten path. How intentional of a decision was this and how do you feel like it impacts your work?

A: "So I have lived in Costa Mesa for about 10 years now. I couch surfed for the first few months, way back when I was doing apparel design and worked at Hurley, but the ocean, the lifestyle, and the lack of traffic has kept me from leaving. My wife and I have talked of moving many times, but for now this is where we find home. I am constantly inspired by a core group of creatives that live nearby. There are certainly not as many creatives as say LA, but it makes the group that much more close and rich, and that keeps me fueled."

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Q: You mentioned your dad was a really talented maker. Growing up in that sort of environment did you always know that whatever you were doing it would be hands-on?

A: "Yes, my dad was and still is highly creative, and that has shaped me in a huge way. I grew up making skateboard ramps, my own clothes, and Christmas ornaments. My dad was always there to teach me things, and the value in making them yourself. I never thought or knew it would turn into what I do to make a living, but I know I'm fortunate to make a living doing what I love."

Q: Having designed apparel before you got into woodworking, what did you learn from the fashion industry and how did it shape your outlook when you decided to make the switch to designing furniture?

A: I did apparel for about 7 years before hopping into furniture. I learned a ton during that time. Looking back, one of the biggest things that I learned and built my business around is creating a brand of lasting impact. One that does not follow trends, where we do what we want to do when we want to do it. You are so much more free when you adopt this mentality instead of chasing what's already out there. The second is deadlines. In fashion, there are constant deadlines, and as a furniture maker or any creative, deadlines are crucial. Have launch dates. Have dates that you want to have prototypes done by, etc. It makes things move much more efficiently. 

"I grew up making skateboard ramps, my own clothes, and Christmas ornaments. My dad was always there to teach me things, and the value in making them yourself."

Q: You also have a really interesting art practice and just got done with a recent show. Is there a direct relationship between your art and design work or do you try to keep the two separate?

A: I love the act of creating art. It is much more liberating than furniture, mistakes are allowed and often applauded if they are even noticed. It is more problem creation, as opposed to problem solving with making furniture. I enjoy the balance, and do my best at separating the two in a physical and in a mental way. I have to mentally be ready to make art. I can’t be rushed, generally I have to be alone, and it only happens late at night. Music on, maybe a beer or two and it goes from there. ..

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Q: What are your plans for the next year and what are you most excited about?

A: We have a lot of new designs in the works that I am really proud of. It's been so great to hire on a couple of talented other woodworkers to help as well. The community and synergy created by being able to bounce ideas back and forth is crucial and something that was definitely lacking before. Right now, we are looking to grow, and move into a larger space that would have a proper showroom/retail store. Hopefully that happens soon. Of course I hope remain curious, keep learning, and pushing myself. I know that if I continue doing these things I'll be happy.


Sean Woolsey / Product Gallery