To make the legs of his tables black, furniture designer Ken Tomita uses sumi, Japanese calligraphy ink. He got the idea while studying architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. “We were given an assignment to come up with 10 different ways of making wood black,” he says. “I used the ink for one of them. I discovered that it has the right amount of gloss, and it’s a deep black. It’s like painting a void.”
“There are a lot of connections between furniture and sculpture, such as the importance of the finish details and the need to be accurate,” Karma Lloyd and Bill Simmons create Organic Industrial style furniture, so called because of the combination of wood and metal.
While growing up in sunny San Diego, Calif., furnituremaker Lawrence Newman was frequently surrounded by wood, metal and tools. “My grandfather was a general contractor, so I spent a lot of time as a kid on his project sites,” he says. “I’d take things apart and try to get all the pieces back in order. Once I even took my grandfather’s chainsaw apart and put it back together, and it still worked.”
For metal artist Jeff Whitaker, his profession is a perfect match for his personality. "I’m an adrenaline junkie, who thrives on intense experiences," he says. "Metalworking fascinates me because I’m actually melting metal using extreme temperatures. I’m able to coax around a liquid using intense heat, and there’s a lot going on when that happens, so I never get bored. I love to weld.”