June 29th - Austin Heitzman

Austin Heitzman
Austin Heitzman Furniture
Portland, Oregon 
 
HONORING NATURE THROUGH CRAFT
 
I craft timeless furniture that allows wood’s natural beauty to speak for itself. Many influences converged to make that happen —from nature walks as a child to growing up in Southeast Asia where I was first exposed to the art of bonsai.
 
My obsession with furniture was cultivated while working at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There I was exposed to many of the world’s greatest furniture masterpieces. Being able to examine these pieces in detail taught me how to craft heirloom furniture that can be passed down for generations. I strive to achieve this level of quality in every piece I build.
 
To perfect my craft I set out to furnish my home with pieces I could pass down to my children. I never quite finished that project, as the furniture orders started rolling in. I believe that a beautiful, well-made piece of furniture creates a link between you and nature, serving as a daily touchstone.
 
Through bonsai I explore the connection between nature and art. A great stand elevates any bonsai to a higher level and I am proud to have crafted stands for many award-winning trees. Bonsai taught me to utilize a board’s individual characteristics, especially defects, to suggest something greater than the material itself. I feel fortunate to be able to manifest what I value through my work—a deep appreciation of nature through authentic, well-made furniture.
 
MATERIALS MATTER
 
I’m exacting about the materials I use. Each board has a purpose and I take great care to match the right material to each piece of furniture.I source my lumber from salvaged city trees. This labor-intensive work saves the tree from the wood chipper and gives it a new life as heirloom furniture.
 
My trees are milled locally, on a farm in the Columbia River Gorge, and then left to air dry for several years. This slow and sustainable process ensures the integrity of the wood and produces the most vivid colors.Every tree is unique.
 
I actively seek out lumber with the most exceptional and interesting qualities. Superior lumber transfixes the eye and excites the imagination. I treasure little used trees such as apple, plum and English walnut for their extraordinary character. Nature does most of the work; I simply let it guide my hand.
 
The below picture is one of Austin's stands displaying a bonsai tree.  Austin is in Colorado for the 2017 Cherry Creek Arts Festival, an event where all of the artists are selected through a juried process, e.g., it is an honor amongst artists to be selected.  We are privileged to have Austin as one of our Visiting Artists.