Like many of the Meet the Maker participants, Pete Duncan developed an interest in his career at a young age. Although he studied Fine Arts at Alfred University, it was the time spent in his father's woodshop as a kid that taught him the most about woodworking. He would later turn those skills into a career, designing and building furniture under the name The Wood Studio.
Name/Location: Pete Duncan/Wilmington, NC.
Where did you grow up? I grew up just down river from Niagara Falls, and a stone's throw from the Canadian border, in the small town of Lewiston, New York.
Where did you study/train? I earned my major in Fine Arts with a concentration in Ceramic Art from Alfred University. I'd say that the majority of my training came from my father, an accomplished woodworker. So I guess you could say my studying started in a woodshop, as a kid, and has come full circle into my own shop.
What was the first thing you made and sold? A skateboard ramp for a school friend of mine when we were kids ... Not the prettiest thing, but it held up for years.
Who is your design idol? Whew, that's a toughy. I draw a lot of my aesthetics and philosophy from George Nakashima, which is pretty evident in my work, but I'd say my design idol is currently Eero Saarinen. Mainly because he was such a renaissance man in the design field, and continuously held true to his visions.
Where do you find inspiration? The materials, blogs like this one, good friends, but I'd have to say I draw most of my inspiration from architecture. I may have missed my calling in that regard, but I find that the spaces where my pieces wind up almost more interesting than my furniture itself. I guess furniture is my little way of being included in someone's architecturally inspiring space.
What's one thing you wish YOU had made or designed? I think the printing press would have to be something I would like to claim as my own. Something that changes the course of history as the printing press did is a heck of a legacy.
What's your advice for a designer/maker just starting out? Make what you are proud of, clients can come later.
Check out more of Pete's designs at The Wood Studio.
(Images: Dana Layman Photography)
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