About

Eric Blanpied Furniture - Bike Z Chair In Progress

I take pride in making one-of-a-kind furniture that is both solidly functional and satisfying to live with.

My work is often sparked by a practical need, which gets me going on a creative ramble to discover what fitting and pleasing solutions I can come up with. I draw design inspiration from a variety of sources - an image, a work of art, or perhaps a sculptural detail on an old industrial machine. Some of my pieces are evocative of the Arts & Crafts movement, while others take on more of a mid-century feel reflected through contemporary materials.

I enjoy working with a combination of reclaimed/scrap and new materials depending on the project. I try to be particularly careful about sourcing my woods and tend to favor North American hardwoods that represent ethical forestry practices. The North American forestry industry is not perfect by any means, but there are more robust regulations in place when compared to overseas sources. Besides, if my participation is going to have even a miniscule impact on the environment, positive or negative, I’d just as soon it was in my own backyard.

All my work is made to order in Oakland, California, and pieces vary from one to the next - due to both the materials and the hand crafted nature of the work. I personally love seeing the signs of a maker’s hands on their work; as I look at all manner of objects in the world, I have a deep respect for the artistry and processes that go into making them. It is something of a fascination for me to look at how old furniture is put together and to find long-ago tool marks still evident to this day.

Eric Blanpied Furniture - About

My work falls into a couple of major categories. My love of wood and Arts & Crafts design leads me to produce pieces with a more classic, fine furniture approach. I enjoy studying and experimenting with traditional techniques, such as the draw-bored assembly on the Trestle Table or darkening the oak used in the Mission Cabinet via the use of ammonia fumes.

On the other hand my current passion is in combining metal and wood, finding how I can mix the two in sculptural and experimental forms. It’s a direction that has called me for years, and I’m enjoying learning the feel of the material and techniques to manipulate it. The X Table series represents my desire to find a structural and visual balance between the steel and the wood, expressing their contrasting properties.

Eric Blanpied Furniture - X Table TrioEric Blanpied Furniture - X Table, Steel and Walnut

ARTIST BIO:

I’ve been creating furniture my whole life, graduating from playing with Legos as a kid to helping my parents make and fix various things around our house. Meandering as a young man, I took my first proper woodworking class at Laney College in Oakland from Keith Nason, an inspiration to many, who ran the Wood Technology department there for decades. Keith taught not just how to properly join wood together, but to appreciate the material as living, changing pieces of trees. I quickly found myself driven to go from screwing things together to crafting fine furniture and quit my job in photography to attend Laney full time.

I worked in the furniture industry a bit, but found that even though it paid the bills, making commercial cabinets wasn’t fulfilling my passion for fine woodworking. As it happened, the tech industry was just starting to boom, and since software tickled another part of my brain I shifted to tech and let furniture become a hobby.

In recent years I came to the realization that the tech industry was moving in a hyper-efficiency-focused direction that didn’t fit for me, and my passion for working with my hands encouraged me to go back to making furniture full time, with a revitalized outlook on my craft. Most days I can be found working either in my home studio or at The Crucible, where I direct the woodworking department as well as teach. The Crucible is also where I do almost all of my metalwork.