WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 31

31

CRAIG THIBODEAU

MASTERY IN WOOD

A conversation with a woodworker and furniture maker who combines traditional marquetry with contemporary design in his furniture pieces.

His fascinating journey and inspiration are discussed.

WS: How and when did you decide to become a woodworker?

CT: I don’t think I made a conscious decision early on to become a woodworker but I always had a workshop of some kind either in a garage or storage unit, even while going to college I had a shop to work in on the weekends. Right about the time my first child was born I decided I’d rather be at home working and able to spend time with my kids than gone all day at a day job in an office..

WS: Growing up, who and what inspired you to follow a path in woodworking?

CT: Well, we always had a workshop in the garage growing up though I don’t recall ever really using it to make anything. Both my parents worked in their shop doing a variety of jobs from woodworking to tool maintenance so I was exposed to a shop environment from early on even if I didn’t realize the influence it would have on me later.

WS: You are a furniture designer, maker. What kinds of furniture do you design + make and in what styles?

CT: The short answer is that I design and make whatever style my current client wants. The majority of my work is custom commissions so I spend most of my design time creating pieces that suit the current clients needs and desires. When time allows I will make speculation work for galleries and shows and it is often in either an Art Deco or Asian/Arts and Crafts style. Typically, these pieces will showcase some new style of marquetry I’ve been wanting to explore. As these pieces gain exposure they tend to spawn additional work in a similar style.

The very first thing noticed in Craig Thibodeau's work is the intricateness and attention to detail. Craig excels at incorporating marquetry and veneer work in his furniture designs. He has developed a unique aesthetic that combines tradition with contemporary design. The art of marquetry dates back to the 18th century, Craig has embraced it and follows in the tradition of early masters. He has studied with top contemporaries in his field and gleaned the centuries old craft of marquetry in the process. The unique characteristic of patience is critical to fine marquetry and Craig exudes this in spades. Often spending large amounts of time working on intricate detail, the slow, methodical approach works best for him. Complex inlay patterns, floral and animal motifs pop his furniture designs.

by Norman Pirollo

This detail is testament to the years of expertise behind Craig's work. Not content with the static beauty of his furniture pieces, Craig has been incorporating interactivity into furniture pieces. This is accomplished through complex mechanical and puzzle mechanisms. The common theme in all this is how Craig enjoys delving into and rediscovering age old traditions in furniture making. He then adds his own unique twist to these traditions. The prevalent genre of Craig's work is Art Deco, a style seen in several of his pieces. To summarize, Craig has taken furniture making to the next level through marquetry, inlay and mechanical movements. We look forward to seeing more of Craig's exciting work in the future and how his aspirations in furniture making unfold.