notes for website
|July 27 - 29
||Bellevue Art Museum Fair,
Bellevue, WA, Seth Rolland functional art, Seth Roland, Seth Rowland,
custom furniture maker Seht
|October 13 - 14
||Furniture, custom furniture maker,
furnituremaker, coat rack,
dining table, hall table, woodworks, coffee table, table, interior design,
|November 3 - 4
||Port Townsend Woodworkers Show
I ama custom furniture maker. I make custom furniture and wood furniture,. I create custom wood
furniture which is organic, sculptural and high quality. Tables,
chairs and entertainment center are my specialty along with
custom wood dining tables and custom wood hall table. My custom wood
entry table and custom wood coffee table can be used as end tables. If
you need custom, wood, quality and handmade call me. I hand made, bed,
desk and hat rack. Also coat rack, hall tree and rocking chair.
I make desk, dining, chair. I create custom bench, stone, rock.
My art is steam bent, steambent, bedside table. Get contemporary,
hardwood armoire. Wood mirror and barstool are made by hand. I build
blanket chest, jewelry box, functional art. Call Seth Rolland, Seth
Roland, Seth Rowland for your art furniture. I will build your table,
chair or sculpture from my favorite woods which are ash, walnut, maple and
cherry. Excellent woods are black cherry, poplar, alder, mahogany,
wenge. Seth Rolland makes wood arty. For artsy, contemporary or
modern call Seth and have him make new, made to order.
|2007: woodworkers show of fine furniture
||custom made furniture, custom, funiture,
furnitur, custom wood cabinet, hardwood, cabinetmaker, cabinet maker,
cabinets, woodworker, woodworking, reproduction furniture, solid wood, door,
table, chair, marquetry, casing, millwork, oak, ash, cherry, mahogany, teak,
pine, maple, bed, desk,
computer desk, cabinetmakers, funiture, children's furniture, antique
Seth Rolland custom furniture is custom woodworkers. Find a
cabinetmaker to design and build custom furniture, custom doors, desks,
and custom made woodwork. Seth rolland Custom Furniture Designs has
been crafting fine, custom furniture for architects, designers, and
contractors for over 17 years.
Functional furniture is everywhere.
What I strive for in my furniture and what I
admire in that of others are pieces which can be sculptures.
Animated, balanced, interesting forms enhanced
by color and grain.
Beautiful, natural materials used in innovative
or unexpected ways.
Designs which are most of all beautiful, and
yes, also very functional.
Over the last 17 years, my work has
evolved to be more organic both in design and technique.
I admire the simplicity and economy of the
natural world where each material shows its full range of possibilities.
I collect ideas while hiking in the forest, on
beaches, or boating on Puget Sound.
I am drawn to natural forms because they are not
they grow, spring, flow, fracture and erode.
Each of my designs starts with the idea of such
an action, in addition to the function of the piece of furniture.
In my work I emphasize structure over
ornamentation, curves over straight lines and smooth transitions instead of
Many of the details of my
furniture do not show up in photos:
textures, edges and curves that are meant to be
touched more than seen.
I want my furniture to be fun to touch, sit in,
eat off and live with for many generations.
In the past two years I
have started combining sculpted wood with natural stone.
Stone is usually such a precious material.
It is cut, ground and polished to remove its
rough exterior and show off its inner beauty.
Yet I have never seen a polished stone that
compares with the rough softness of a beach stone.
tables the wood is literally balanced by the
weight of the stone, yet the design switches the usual qualities of the
materials – the wood looks sharp and hard, while the organic shape of the
stone makes it seem soft by comparison.
In my “Wood Explosion”
series I am concentrating on exploring the range of forms that can be
created from a single piece of wood.
Each of these pieces of wood are cut part way
through, and then expanded by steam bending, creating furniture with hardly
any glue or joinery.
The nature of the wood itself restricts the
curves to ones that are both dramatic and extremely fluid.
Unless, of course, they break.
However, if they bend and dry successfully, the
wood itself is re-formed into its new shape.
This leaves the piece very stable with no
internal stresses remaining.
Seth Rolland On Design and Creativity
Describe your design process.
My designs usually start with an idea which can be a motion I want the
piece to have, or a stance with a particular balance. It can be the way
certain forms will look when they intersect or are placed next to each
other. These ideas are most often derived from forms I find in nature -
the way a tree branch joins to the trunk, the way a bird stands, or the
shape of a whale's tail. Other designs begin as an exploration of a
particular technique which I will push to a limit to work wood into
unusual forms. I enjoy seeing what shapes I can make with certain
techniques (most often laminating and steam bending) and then figuring
out how I might use these forms in a furniture design.
After creating a new design, what is the process for moving the idea
forward eventually resulting in a finished piece?
usually start with small thumbnail sketches, then I turn them into
quarter scale drawings. Often I will make a quarter scale model so I can
look at it from various sides. I also use these models to check the
stability of a table with an overhang. Then I draw the piece out full
scale to refine the shapes and proportions, often moving a line here or
there on the drawing for a week or two as it sits in the shop. I use the
drawings to make any templates I might need for repetitive parts and to
figure out all the joinery. At this point construction usually proceeds
What is the
fascination with curves in your work and how do you think they impact
the reaction someone has when they view a piece?
straight lines, grids and geometry are great ways to organize space.
They add order and calm to our universe. Photographs are a great
example: the rectangular edge organizes and enhances the mostly organic
forms inside. A free edge photo might be unsettling. I like straight
lined and geometric furniture for its serene and unimposing presence.
However, almost nothing alive has any straight lines. When I add curves
to a table or chair leg they no longer just sit on the floor, they touch
it lightly, or spring from it, or are anchored to it. For me, sitting in
a curved chair is much more comforting than a shaker style chair: I am
not trying to fit into a grid, but am embraced. The curves are more fun
to touch and run fingers along. It has more the feel of sitting on a log
in the woods than sitting on a brick wall in the city. In my experiences
when showing my work people always need to run their fingers along the
curved pieces first and talk about how warm wood is, but I think it is
really the curves they are talking about.
Is it possible to take an existing design that utilizes straight lines
and reinvent it by altering the design and introducing curves?
Absolutely. In fact, most of my pieces I design within a
rectangular grid, as there is usually a required height, width and depth
to the piece. So I start within a rectangle and always leave quite a few
straight lines. If every line is curved a piece will look too wiggly.
The curves usually need some straight lines to work off, to help show
them as curves. So starting with an existing geometric design is easy.
You just need to picture it with legs curved this way or that, or with a
curved top or apron and see how it changes the feel of the piece.
Describe your shop and the tools / equipment that you feel are critical.
My shop is 800 square feet. Not overly large, but
organized and not too filled with large tools. Empty workspace is the
most important part of my shop, though it is hard to keep any space
empty for long. I have a radial arm saw, a joiner, planer, table saw,
bandsaw, router table, stationary belt/disc sander, a large air
compressor, and 2 dust collectors which I use every day. I also have a
lathe, oscillating spindle sander, and a vacuum bag which I only use for
specific projects. For small electric tools my 4 ½" grinder is my
favorite and I use it for carving out seats and shaping large curves and
What recommendations would you make for someone that is in the process
of putting together their first shop?
Your shop needs to be a fun place to work. Think about
what tools are most fun to use and start with those. For me that would
be a bandsaw, some chisels and gouges and rasps. I'd also want some dust
collection because dirty shops aren't fun to work in. Then worry about
those other tools you may or may not need to get the job done like table
saws, joiners and planers.
What resources, books etc., were instrumental in the development of your
style of design?
I grew up with a lot of exposure to art, design and
museums. I've always been attracted to both Scandinavian and Japanese
designs in the way they combine organic and geometric elements so
differently and successfully. So I do have a few books on those. I have
always liked "Designing Furniture" by Seth Stem. Otherwise, looking
through books like "1000 Chairs" and books on the works of Gaudi,
Brancusi, David Nash, and Andy Goldsworthy are inspiring.
Seth Rolland works
from his studio in Port Townsend, Washington. His work can be seen by
visiting him at:
View a slideshow of Seth's work
|Pacific Northwest Home magazine
Functional furniture is everywhere. But, as a
woodworker for 20 years I am drawn to furniture that is intriguing enough to
stand alone as sculpture. My goal as a furniture maker is to combine
animated, balanced, interesting forms with function and comfort.
I grew up in a family that valued good design. I was
taught that all objects, no matter how simple, should work well, feel good,
be pleasing to look at and not have too many extra parts. I have always
enjoyed working with my hands and started building my first raft when I was
6 out of driftwood and washed up styrofoam. Over time projects became more
elaborate, but were almost always functional. In high school and college I
spent many summers on trail crews building trails, bridges and water bars
with wood and stone. My last semester of college was spent at Mystic
Seaport Museum where I was able to take a class in boatbuilding. This led
to a couple summers as the first mate on some old schooners in Maine with
some boatbuilding in between.
I then apprenticed with an excellent furniture maker in
New York. During this time I realized how much I enjoyed the design freedom
in furniture. A table just has to have a horizontal surface a certain
height above ground. How it was held there was completely up to the maker.
I spent one more winter in Maine helping rebuild a small boat with a friend
and then moved to Taos, New Mexico where demand for wooden boats was
I moved in with the woman I am now married to, Me’l ,
who was in the process of building a passive solar heated home out of old
car tires, tin cans and adobe. The house was a bit rough at the time with
no running water, a raw dirt floor and an open air outhouse, bit it felt
luxurious after a Maine winter living on a lobster boat.
I built a small workshop in Taos out of tires and
started making furniture full time. The next 6 or 7 years of woodworking
were unremarkable – lots of production with a few more interesting pieces in
between, but somewhere around that time I realized, like most woodworkers
who have put in enough time, that I could make just about anything I could
think up. Not necessarily easily, but I could do it. For me that was when
woodworking became easier and designing became the real challenge.
Since that time my work has steadily evolved to be more
organic both in design and technique. Forms in nature have always been my
primary inspiration. I admire the simplicity and economy of the natural
world where each material shows its full range of possibilities. I am
drawn to natural forms because they are not static: they grow, spring,
flow, fracture and erode. Each of my designs starts with the idea of such a
motion, in addition to the function of the piece of furniture. In my work I
emphasize structure over ornamentation, curves over straight lines and
smooth transitions instead of exposed joinery.
Most of my work now fits into one of three groups. One
group is very organic, based on natural forms with influences of Antoni
Gaudi, Danish modern furniture and Japanese aesthetics.
In another group of work I am concentrating on
exploring the range of forms that can be created out of a single piece of
wood. Each of these pieces of wood are cut part way through, expanded by
steam bending and then stabilized with additional pieces. The nature of the
material itself restricts the forms to ones that are both dramatic and
extremely fluid (unless, of course, they break). However, if they bend
successfully, the wood itself is re-formed into its new shape. This leaves
the piece very stable with no internal stresses remaining.
In the last few years I have also been making furniture
that combines wood with natural stone. The stones are beautiful but are
also essential parts of the designs, as I use their weight to balance
cantilevered tables or anchor table legs so they can stand independent of
In 2001 we moved to Port Townsend mostly to be back by
the water and boats. It is a great place to work and I find plenty of
inspiration on the water, along the coast and especially in the Olympic
Mountains. These days about half of the furniture I make is sold through
galleries, at art fairs or through my website and the other half are custom
commissions made to suit a particular client’s space. I am very careful
about the wood I use and almost all of it is from sustainably harvested
forests or North American tree farms. Recently I have been working on
milling wood from trees in town that either are blown down or have to be
removed. My goal is to be using only local wood in a few years. If you
hear of any large trees coming down, please let me know. I can be reached
by email and am happy to have visitors at my workshop by appointment.
My one apprenticeship in furniture making came at this
time when I met Janis, a New York based furniture maker who designed and
built beautiful one of a kind pieces for local clients. If I had known I
would still be making furniture 20 years later I would have stayed in her
workshop longer than 6 months. Luckily she was a great teacher and generous
with her knowledge. Janis had a client with a small boat that needed
rebuilding and Chris, a great friend from college, and I started Blue Streak
Marine. We rebuilt that boat over the winter in an uninsulated shop in
Maine while living on a broken lobster boat. It was, like most boat
projects, a tad late and a bit over budget, but we had a good excuse. Chris
went on to become an excellent boat builder, but I moved to New Mexico where
demand for wooden boats was surprisingly low.
Me’l was going to a craft fair every weekend to sell
the clothing she made and she suggested that I make something to sell in her
booth. I sold my first patio chair that weekend, two the next, four the
week after and in a month I had my own booth next to hers.
March 23 - 29
|Custom furniture wood furniture
and custom wood
furniture organic sculptural, quality tables chairs entertainment
center custom wood dining table custom wood hall table.
Furnituremaker, furniture maker, custom wood entry
table and custom wood coffee table end quality, handmade
hand made bed, desk hat rack coat rack hall tree. Rocking chair desk
dining chair, bench stone rock steam bent steambent bedside table and
contemporary hardwood armoire mirror. Barstool blanket chest, jewelry
box functional art Seth Rolland, Seth Roland and Seth Rowland art
furniture table chair, sculpture: ash, walnut, maple, cherry, black
cherry, poplar, alder, mahogany, wenge. Wood arty artsy contemporary
modern new made to order custom furniture and wood tables fine furniture
custom made dining table. Contemporary furniture original studio
unique organic sculptural chairs and entertainment center.
Dining room furniture hall table entry coffee end wood handmade hand made
sleigh bed desk. Hat coat rack hall tree dining chair bench
stone rock hardwood armoire blanket chest. One of a kind artisan
office home and commissions glass top table buffet. Sideboard art heirloom
walnut cherry ash and curly maple design.