Monthly Archives: March 2014

Jeff O’Brien, Mentoring Grad, Q&A

Jeff O’Brien, Former Mastery/Mentoring Student, Northwest Woodworking Studio

“This is a second career for me. Previously, I edited video programs; they would rarely last a year- sometimes only one day. My goal is to build furniture that will last a good bit longer, more of a legacy, if you will.”

Now Jeff Runs Dogwood Design, a furniture design studio. He has numerous clients nationwide and his work has been featured in magazines and shows.

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Q&A With Jeff

What were you doing before you came to the Northwest Woodworking Studio?

When I began the Mastery Program, I worked in video production as an editor. Lived like a mushroom; in the dark and fed b.s. on a regular basis!

Why wood? What’s your connection to the medium? If you weren’t already a woodworker, what made you decide to pick it up?

Good question. I’ve always sort of had an attachment to wood, maybe from my father and grandfather. Just sort of seemed natural to continue to see what I could make from it.

What was your favorite thing about the program at the Northwest Woodworking Studio?

I think I really enjoyed learning more about design. Looking critically at a piece and deciding if it works or not has an appeal to me. And trying to figure out why it works and why it does not, that’s always the challenge.

How would you describe Gary as an educator?

He sucks.  No, really, I shouldn’t say that, because he really is good at imparting the essence of the craft. I wish I were that good. He has developed a gift inasmuch as he’s fun to listen to, and has something worth hearing.

How are you currently using the skills you learned in the program?

I’m building custom furniture professionally. Not sure how many pieces, but my current backlog now has completion dates to December 2014.

What have you done with woodworking since you graduated? 

After graduation, I took my completed assignments and hung out my shingle. Apparently they were good enough to get into some books, and win some local craft show awards. I don’t do shows much anymore, but the work seems to keep flowing. My wife likes to say that I have more pieces scattered about North America than here in Oregon. Probably true.  It’s been a fun ride so far, but I need to go back and create some new pieces, ones that are not client driven. Just for my own sanity!

See More of Jeff’s Work Online

Dogwood Design
Jeff on Custom Made