CH first spoke with Costa Mesa native, Sean Woolsey back in early 2012 when we discovered his pipe lamps, sheet metal paintings and love of the outdoors on Instagram. After three years, the artist and self-taught furniture maker has decided to create mini-production runs of his favorite pieces, rather than purely 100% custom designs. The first is the Haack Table, commissioned by and named after his good friend, photographer Ryan Haack.
Regarding the design’s beginnings, Woolsey says, “I have been working with wood and steel for a while now, and I’ve recently gotten into complicated and more geometric-shaped base designs. I wanted to make a dining table design that could easily fit six people and that could double as a desk.” The designer is currently taking orders for the piece and is open to alternative colors, but the original design has an American Black Walnut top “and has a laser-engraved leather patch embedded. The base is a one-inch square tubing, with a powder-coated finish.”
Woolsey’s process is meticulous and time-consuming, with plenty of craftsmanship involved. “I hand-shape the top edges of the table with a spokeshave and various hand-planes to get a organic-shaped round over on the top and bottom edge. Seeing the table up close, it’s very obvious that it was shaped and made by human hands—and I take huge pride in that.”
A true creator, he is not only happy to customize the Haack table according to orders, but also considering crafting different iterations of the piece, having it be “morphed” into a coffee table, dining table or a ping-pong table.
Woolsey firmly believes there is an increasing move towards handmade and handcrafted goods—not just furniture, “I feel like it is at the apex at the moment and will really be interesting to see what happens next. People want to know where things come from more than ever now, and know who made them. People are intrigued by process and story, which is very empowering for individuals who hand make things right now. Then you have this other aspect of how DIY our culture is now, lots of people are even making their own things, educating themselves through online courses or videos online, and getting their own hands dirty.”
On the creative process, the designer’s mantra is simple, and he offers it to everybody—not just those in the industry, “Keep your overhead low, trust your gut, and follow your heart.”
Images courtesy of Ryan Haack