I make things. ”I can’t not make things.” It's a quote from one of my favorite authors and essayist (and unfortunately) the late David Rakoff. He was obviously speaking about himself. But that is exactly how I feel. “I can’t not make things.” I never stop thinking about the project or projects in front of me, the next project, and even projects I've finished.
I’ve always made things; I can't remember a time when I didn't make things. But I struggled when I was young, it was always hard for me. Until, in junior high school at the age age of 11 or 12, I made a bowl from Honduras mahogany on a wood lathe. Thankfully, or maybe luckily, mahogany works easily. It was the first time I worked with wood where I had success, where I actually enjoyed it. I was immediately hooked. So what turned out to be my dad’s greatest parenting moment, he bought a wood lathe for me. Together we started buying small pieces of wood from around the world, and I found a hobby which chose the direction I'd take in life. In a way, Barry Newstat Furniture began when I began my life’s work, in 1971.
I started my career as a teacher. But I was restless, I want to make things! So after only six years, I quit and in 1987 I started making things as a profession. In addition to furniture, I am constantly looking for new pieces to create. My process most often starts with a specific piece of wood, which will determine a project I'm compelled to make; it will set my direction and ultimately decide what form the piece will take. Before ever making a cut, I can spend hours searching and sorting lumber stacks and looking at lumber or just small boards I've put aside.
I choose to work in a pure and traditional craftsmanlike way. How a piece is created makes all the difference. My work is created from the heart, and I still get lost in the art of making things. My hope is it will be admired for its beauty and taken advantage of for its function; it will make a home a warm, inviting and inspiring place. And when taking a closer look, you’ll say out loud “wow, look at that!”
thought of my work as this: take a piece of wood, a few hand tools and go at it. I have a purist's point of view and a very simple approach. I want to make fantastic objects that'll draw you in, make you wonder, make you smile. That's it. Pieces that make surroundings comfortable and inviting and in those quiet moments when you're alone, allow you to look at an object and let your mind run free.