David Gray

I was born in Michigan in 1948, raised in "the sticks" in Northern California, and attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Following a tour of duty in Asia as a naval officer, I returned to the Pacific Northwest to study physics in graduate school at the University of Washington. After working in research during my twenties at the University, I began woodworking at thirty due to my love of tools and inspiration from a friend. My woodworking career began at the "Gompers" branch of Seattle Community College, doing commissions and trades for friends. Following school, I moved my shop into the basement of a fellow furnituremaker, Curt Minier. Subsequently, we established a cooperative shop in Pioneer Square called "Second Floor Woodworking" and were both founding members of the Northwest Gallery of Fine Woodworking in 1980. 

I am currently serving on the board of Northwest Fine Woodworking and have served for the majority of its history, much of it as President. During this time I also returned to graduate school, received a Masters degree in counseling, and did post graduate work in marriage and family therapy. I practiced counseling, and worked in the cooperative shop until 1987, at which time I got married and moved my home and my business to Whidbey Island.       

Over time my work has been influenced by both historical furniture traditions and the more recent explorations of the crafts movement. As I developed as a designer it soon became clear to me that I was drawn to simple, graceful lines and craftsmanship. I fell in love with the furniture of the Shakers and the furniture at the height of the craftsman period, as expressed by Greene and Greene, architects from Southern California. I still marvel at the beauty of the line, the composition, and the expression of craft in both styles.   

In my designs I emphasize clean simple lines, a careful balance of form and function, and a synthesis of traditional furniture with a modern use of materials, design and presentation. I use a variety of exposed joinery and pay careful attention to craftsmanship and detailing. I attempt to highlight the beauty of the wood by attending carefully to the color, intensity, contrast and wood figure. My work is finished with catalyzed varnish. It is applied to create a low luster, wood textured, extremely durable finish that emulates a traditional oil finish without the drawbacks of oil.  I am now working on creating work with a more avante-guarde look using slabs and live edge wood.