Austin Artisan Profile: Michael Yates
During his first few weeks living in Japan, local furniture designer Michael Yates spent a lot of time laughing. The cultural differences between laid back Central Texas and the traditional Japanese city of Kyoto are vast, and for the then Texas A&M electrical engineering student, nearly everything was an adventure. Luckily for Austinites, Yates took more from his trip to Japan than just memories. He found among Kyoto’s dense architecture and ancient temples the inspiration for his unique, Japanese-inspired custom furniture that he designs and builds here in Austin.
So why is Michael Yates here, making wood furniture in Austin, Texas? His drive and passion and willingness to teach himself things he doesn’t know, as well as the unique combination of natural talent with his hands and the influences of Japanese culture create an unbeatable combination that fits perfectly with the level of appreciation that Austin has for quality, handmade wood furniture. In the five years since Yates has been in the woodworking business, he has worked on projects varying from beds to kitchen cabinets to exterior porches. And perhaps the biggest testament to Yates’ talent is the fact that he never really has to advertise—his clients find him through word of mouth. He contributes his success to his view on creating custom products:
“I hope that my work isn’t lumped in with the rest of the consumer process. It’s not about going out and spending money and getting a thing. It should be more than that. “
Customers purchasing anything crafted by Yates certainly won’t get just a ‘thing’. With his background in Japanese woodworking, years of experience, skill and talent, owners of a Michael Yates hand built piece of furniture get a stunningly beautiful and lifelong-lasting masterpiece. You can learn more about Yates on his website.