Erin: What are you curious about?
Reed: Art, craft, objects, interactions. Functional and non functional items that are interesting, raise questions, make you wonder, make you question, make you learn.
Erin: Describe your work and describe your process.
Reed: My furniture focuses on functionality first and foremost. The work is all created to a standard ensuring it will live on for generations. Aesthetically I create work intuitively, allowing emotion and relation to the material to guide the design.
Erin: How did you first get involved in woodworking and what brought you from Canada to Red Hook?
Reed: I have been employed in the woodworking industry since I was a teenager. I have built everything from boats to kitchens, furniture, lighting, sculpture, etc, etc. As a business owner producing high end functional furniture a vast majority of my business has been from clients in the US, largely the North East. The move to Brooklyn was an easy choice, I had a collection of work I was confident in, it was time to take it to the place best suited to showcase the work. Brooklyn has a strong hand / locally made movement right now, the awareness that people are doing this already exists, and the proximity to a populace that can afford / is interested in supporting people doing this type of work already exists.
Erin: When we met, I caught you sketching. Where do you gather your inspiration from and is pencil to the paper a crucial first step?
Reed: Pencil and paper is the staple in my designing diet. Sure there are other ways I work through ideas, but largely it happens in the sketchbook. Computers are limiting, models are time consuming (although sometimes necessary), drawing is intuitive. Inspiration is always around, look up with eyes and mind open to the world around you.
Erin: You’re like the master of chairs. What draws you to them and how do you make the options seem limitless?
Reed: The chair master / doctor / guru are names I never expected to be called. A great chair is strong, comfortable, and looks good from 360 degrees, most chairs in the world achieve two of these three criteria. They are an item a vast majority of makers shy away from, they are challenging, especially so to do really well, it is this challenge which draws me to them. They require the designer / maker to be on top of their game, understanding of material and construction is a must.
Erin: You are currently exploring lighting and sculpture. We’re intrigued...tell us more!
Reed: It started with lighting, it was a way for me to begin to explore more sculptural forms while catering to my personal hang ups of product functionality and viability. During this explorative time I managed to get over myself and just move onto sculpture, it is rekindling my passion to create objects that commissioned furniture has been providing less and less of.
Erin: You use a combination of slats and layers to build geometry and a sense of motion in your work. Where does this come from and how did the style come to fruition?
Reed: It started about 2 years ago, everything I’d made up until then had almost always incorporated curved elements. I was realizing more and more about my personal taste and aesthetic and wanted to begin exploring straight lines. Repetition is beautiful, repetition with slight variance even more so. The concept I was working towards was creating a sense of movement using only straight lines.
Erin: Steam twisting and bending wood seem to be prevalent in your work. What’s involved in this process and why do you use this method?
Reed: I was enamoured by curved work when I first began designing and building my own work. It is something that requires a thorough understanding of the material / technique. I enjoy the process of figuring out and creating curved / twisted wood parts to incorporate into my work. There’s a lot to consider when bending wood, books and articles can get you started, but understanding and pushing the limits is something only experience can facilitate.
Erin: Your work borders on utilitarian and sculptural. Is the end use important to you?
Reed: With my furniture everything hinges on functionality. It is the foremost consideration with my work. Functionality incorporates the daily interaction with the piece as well as the quality it is built to ensuring longevity through generations of use. Aesthetic although important, is always second to functionality in my furniture. Sculpture on the other hand can breach into functionality, but form overrides function in my sculptural work.
Erin: If you could collaborate with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and what would it look like?
Reed: Boof, tough question, hard to know where to begin. I love collaborating with Yuri Kobayashi, she is the most talented individual I have ever had the privilege of working alongside and truly one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever been around. In a broader sense, people I don’t know but would love to meet or work with there’s a long list. With where my head is currently at I would love to collaborate with some other artists working on installation scale sculpture. Martin Puryear living, Richard Deacon deceased.
Erin: If you had one superpower, what would it be?
Reed: To stop time, or slow time, manipulate time. Something that would give me the opportunity to make all the pieces swimming around in my head and in my sketchbook.
Erin: What is your dream project?
Reed: Rocking chair for the oval office? Jokes aside I am not sure. Been trying to think of ways into installation / large scale sculpture lately.
Erin: What’s next?
Reed: Realistically, months of furniture commissions. On the horizon, transitioning into more of a designer roll allowing my work to become more accessible to the general public as well as freeing up my time to focus on just creating new products, both functional and nonfunctional.