When Tor Erickson joined the family furniture business last year he sought to make his mark on their designs, many of which were created by his father Robert Erickson over 35 years ago. Tor ended up redesigning and building several of his own pieces of furniture using a variety of salvaged woods sourced from California’s Central Valley. Many of these woods are burls that contain large voids and crevices, and in many places they appear to be so delicate that they risk falling apart.
The source of the wood varies: sometime it’s urban salvage, other times it comes from walnut orchards that have passed their prime and were being removed to make way for new trees. Today, with Tor at the Helm, Erickson Woodworking builds around 75 pieces of furniture a year. Their original chair designs are reflective of the perfection of the human body in their symmetrical curves and shapes, while their use of a material that appears to be crumbling away introduces a note of imperfection. This imperfection allows for a diversity of beauty- the “flaws” create a finished product that can be even more beautiful than the perfect original. Their work is represented at various institutions including the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Every piece is still built by hand, just as was Robert did over 40 years ago.
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