If you haven’t heard of woodworker Jory Brigham, don’t worry – you will. The California free-spirited family man designs and handcrafts unique furniture using mostly domestic hardwoods and time-honored techniques in his Paso Robles studio, overlooking the vineyards in wine country. His look is rugged, earthy and retro – much like the furniture he creates.
Jory grew up among generations of woodworkers and craftsmen, discovering his own creative voice at an early age. “I’ve been woodworking since I was a kid,” he said. “It’s been in my family for generations, since my great-grandpa. Just being surrounded by it, it became part of my life.”
Learning the craft without formal training gave Jory a greater appreciation for the freedom his career path has afforded him. “We can learn it more organically, without that pressure of having to get out of school and make money,” he explained. “Learning it and being around it, being comfortable with it, and then making a choice to make a living out of it.”
For Jory, woodworking turned into a career simply because he loved what he was doing. “I did the best I could, not for any other reason than excitement,” he shared. “I became passionate about it. I feel very fortunate and blessed to have found something that drives me and I think kind of create a product that can really excite people and be a part of their home.”
Before each piece of furniture comes to life, Jory draws inspiration from both new and old, while maintaining a classic approach to woodworking by allowing the material to dictate what the outcome of any particular piece of furniture will be. “Each wood, each piece of the lumber is picked out, and we hand-carve it, hand shape it,” he explained. “It gets a different flow to it, a different life to it.”
Ultimately, Jory aims to make his furniture classic enough to stand the test of time in what he calls today’s “disposable society.” “It’s real important to me to build something that’s going to last for a long time,” he said. “I compare it to the 50s and 60s when people were building heirloom pieces that were bought with the intention to pass them down to their children. They looked at it as something they would cherish.”
The pieces from Jory Brigham Design range from the Fast Freddy, a light and comfortable indoor bench with odes to the 70s in its retro color scheme and slanted slats that bring a sense of speed to a piece otherwise made for a sedentary posture, to the Arka, a coffee table designed to look like it is hovering inches above the floor, celebrating what Jory felt the future promised him as a child in a playful theme from the past. “I mean, come on, where are our flying cars?” he laughed.
The Hollister, a walnut cabinet which gets its vibe from the “Nine Sisters” volcanic peaks in central California, showcases the grain and character of the wood in a way that is both unique and understated, yet show-stopping.
"Hollister" walnut cabinet
Watch Jory at work creating the peaks and valleys on the Hollister’s sliding door in this video.
Thinking back to the days when he helped his father build things, Jory said, “That’s kind of what I look forward to down the road, when my kids come help in the shop and working towards that kind of lifestyle, really having my family be a part of it.”
Because he lives his dream every day, Jory hopes his children will someday see that one’s work does not have to be something to dread. “They can see that work can be really inspiring and gives you joy and energy.” Building on that success, Jory says he can come home after a long day and just be excited. “It was a good day. I created something,” he said with a smile.
And the following day, he’s ready to do it all over again. “I love knowing that it’s waiting for me the next day,” Jory beamed. “I really can’t wait to open up those doors and get right back to it.”
Having a view like this doesn’t hurt either.
Watch Woodcraft’s social media in the weeks ahead to learn more about an upcoming sweepstakes to win a three-day training class for you and a companion at Jory’s studio and build your own custom piece of furniture! Plus more great prizes to be announced!
Stay tuned…we hope you’ll be inspired!