I admire Toronto-based craftsman Michael Greenwood as much for his work ethic and promotional savvy as for his talent for turning salvaged old wood into beautiful new furniture. Michael checked in with me a couple of weeks ago; business was a bit slow due to the winter so he was updating his blog and working his way through his contact list. As it turned out I needed a favour that only a woodworker could provide and so I dropped in on Michael at his new location in the artist colony at Stirling Road in Toronto’s west end. Greenwood is a leading member of the Dupont Woodworking Co-op, a group of craftspeople who share space and heavy machinery, making it more cost-effective for all.
The space is enormous and filled with sunlight as well as noise and activity. Myriad projects are underway in the various carpenter bays. One piece Michael showed me, which he’s quite proud of, is an exquisite side table with clever, light-as-air legs and a chunky 2.5″ thick seat which he made from an off-cut from another project. The walnut shows imperfections on the underside, and one of the bullnose corners is ever-so-slightly ravaged by the natural grain; it’s the essence of the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, an imperfection that makes a thing more beautiful, not less.
In the summer months Michael is always busy with building projects, often cottages and his amazing custom treehouses. But in the fall and winter months he has time to turn salvaged wood into extraordinary furniture that in some ways recalls the work of the great mid-century designer and craftsman, George Nakashima.
Greenwood appreciates the comparison but says he prefers his pieces to be a little more refined, a little less rough-hewn. Certainly, there’s an elegant understatement to many of Greenwood’s designs. Have a look around his website, I’m certain you’ll be impressed.
Thanks again Michael, for your help with my little project. Readers stay tuned for an update on one of my previous DIYs.