I am attracted by simple lines, simple joinery and beautiful wood in its natural appearance. I am drawn to small local mills processing local trees with their natural character, wood with cracks, knots and swirling and uneven grain patterns. I also love mixing wood with other materials like rusted metal, copper or forged iron.
I come from a trade’s family. For generations before me, my ancestors have been black smith, carpenters and roofers shaping natural materials such as metal, slates and timbers. When my grandfather helped me build a wooden wheelbarrow at age 9, I didn’t know I would be pursuing this path for a long time.
Born in the heart of Normandy, France, I did an apprenticeship to complement my grandfather’s instructions, to become a furniture maker. While I was in woodworking school, on the weekends and vacations, the local woodworker, my first mentor, would open his shop and wood shed for me to experiment. He was not a man of many words. The only signs that he was paying attention would be his few words written down on the blackboard in the bench room.
I worked consequently in many aspects of woodworking, all over France including Paris where I spent a rich year with the Compagnons du Tour de France. Living at the Compagnons’ house downtown Paris, I would go to work during the day and come back to the House to study under the masters in the evening and work on my masterpiece on the week ends.
Incidentally, I learned a lot working under a master woodworker from Rhode Island, USA, who had apprenticed under one of the few last furniture makers in the Faubourg ST Antoine in the heart of Paris, where historically the King of France’s furniture was made. The old methods are what we call “sustainable” today.
Finally, the south of France was where I got a chance to work in Roman period monasteries (eleventh to thirteen century), making pews for the monks of the Abbaye de Sénanque, or renovating the doors and structures of the Abbaye du Thoronet in the Cote d’Azur back country.
The move to Canada allowed me to expand beyond the age-old traditions and integrate the North American styles, absorbing new shapes in my work.
After 10 years as a production manager in an international millwork and timber frame company, working on high-end projects for Jackson WY, Colorado, Whistler, Canmore, it was time for me to bring it all together and start expressing freely the whole of my experience.