To Portland woodworker Chris Held, furniture is a way to connect with a past that’s disappeared from much of America. “I work with old materials and weathered finishes to infuse my furniture with nostalgia,” says Held. “I grew up in the sprawling suburbs of Atlanta where everything old was torn down to make room for the new. My furniture represents a yearning for the old, for something that doesn’t smell of fresh asphalt.”
The prints and canvases of Bothell, Wash., artist Carolyn Krieg will launch haunting tales in your imagination. “Most people like my photographs, but some people think they’re scary,” says the 52-year-old, who lives and works in a studio attached to the barn that shelters her rescue-racehorse, Ollie; a goat named Stanley; and Weimaraners, Reynard and Kiefer.
When it comes to woodworking, Brian Pietrowski is a jack-of-all-trades. One day he’ll craft a conceptual art piece made from plywood and Formica; the next, he’ll build period-authentic studio furniture. And that’s the way he likes it. “There are so many different ways to approach furniture and design and construction,” says the Portland artist. “I find myself dabbling in everything. I just like making things, that’s what it comes down to.”
Imagine crafting a piece of art without being able to really see what you’re creating, only having the vision in your mind to go on. That’s exactly what Portland woodworker Ben Carpenter does when he carves his vessels and sculptures. “After I’ve turned the basic vessel shape on the lathe and hollowed it out, I sit down in a chair with my hand-held power carver and start carving away at it,” says the 23-year-old. “But during the whole process it looks really rough and you can’t see the grain until you put the finish on, so you have to be confident that it will turn out the way you want it to.”
A fading artform—the exquisite Japanese stencil dyeing known as katazome—is alive and well in Oregon, thanks to Karen Miller. The Corvallis, Ore., fabric artist creates stunning katazome textiles, such as Tide Pool 3 (right), but infuses her fabrics with distinctly Northwest imagery. “The Japanese stencilmakers depicted nature in their stencils,” says Miller. “I put my plants and animals into my designs: maidenhair ferns, trilliums, tide pool animals.”