Harkening back to days when all home furnishings were made by hand, Brian Boggs crafts quality, timeless pieces designed for enjoyment by multiple generations. His company, Brian Boggs Handmade Furniture of Asheville, North Carolina, has delivered just what its name implies since 1982.
Evolution of a Master Craftsman
In his childhood Brian did not expect to become a woodworker. He knew only that his life would take him down a creative path beyond his first work in eastern Kentucky tobacco picking. Perhaps in those tobacco fields is where he first gained his appreciation for nature, nurturing growth and sustainability.
Toward developing his own design aesthetic and crafting skill, Boggs studied the work of furniture masters like James Krenov and Jennie Alexander. He was particularly intrigued by use of fresh-cut woods known to shrink and compact as they dry into precise, pre-calculated placement. He still uses the green wood technique along with other methods honed over the years.
Brian’s start in woodworking evolved from updated design and crafting of traditional Appalachian chairs under the brand Brian Boggs Chairmakers. He achieved acclaim for his early designs but did not stop there. In 2008, his move to Asheville inspired addition of modern pieces that were all his own.
Brian Boggs’ Tribute to Quality and Sustainability
Today, each Brian Boggs Handmade Furniture piece is designed in reconstruction of the tree for the greatest integrity and comfort. The craftsman’s preference is toward using locally farmed sassafras or fallen maple. He thoughtfully selects and uses wood, then scrutinizing placement of each joint and rung. Regardless of which piece he is designing or crafting today, the master craftsman’s thoughtful talent ensures outstanding comfort and simplicity.
Even the woodworking tools Boggs uses are his own designs and fabrications. The goal for construction of each piece of furniture is toward ergonomic comfort in heirloom quality. This goal is reached using his own tools that meet very specific needs. The studio still operates with focus on one piece of furniture at a time, a lengthier production process that requires some customer patience and understanding on a made-to-order basis. But the end result fulfills the craftsman’s goal of taking the forest into highly pleased customers’ homes.
Boggs’ respect for sustainability goes beyond locally farmed wood and thoughtful use of each part of the tree. It is also in ensuring each completed chair, cabinet or table lasts through multiple generations of the purchasing family. This durability allows time for more trees to grow to maturity in the place of the one he has claimed for his craft.
Passing on Skills and Environmental Responsibility
Teaching furniture crafting classes around the globe occupies some of Boggs’ time outside of the studio. He is a co-founder of GreenWood, a nonprofit engaging indigenous Central and South American artisans in production of their own wood crafts using new tools and methods. Boggs also promotes sustainable harvesting by consulting with foresters, local organizations and loggers. Part of this work includes advising oversight of rain forests by land management bureaus.
Of course, Boggs’ work is most evident in each piece of furniture he produces. The artisan’s results overwhelmingly please customers, just as multiple collectors have taken notice of his craftsmanship. One Boggs collector was Sam Maloof of California, himself a master woodworker, furniture designer and philanthropist.
You, too, can become a collector of museum quality furnishings through purchase of your own Brian Boggs Handmade Furniture. His current line features his highly acclaimed chairs, tables, bookcases, desks and swings for both indoors and outside. Each piece provides an example of handcrafted shape, hand-rubbed finish, complex joinery, high durability and exceptional comfort.
Check out Brian Boggs’ work through some of the images here or at the studio’s website of BrianBoggsChairmakers.com.