snohomish live edge coffee table | wood library at birdloft
the narrows console table | herringbone table
open air bookcase | wheel koan table
fox island dining table | Jeff Libby and Adrienne Wicks
open bar | island barn case
nimbus cloud table
Our design and our art is quiet, or wants to be, in the way a gull finds current above discord and lets the air lift and direct its path - movement without motion. It’s true, too, that often Adrienne and I are louder than we are quiet, like astronauts, barking through our respirators and headphones - fierce, cacophonous arguments about tiny tectonic moments in the life of an emerging tabletop.
We love the old salvaged wood. We hunt it by the small truckload a few times a year, which weirdly, even after as many years as it’s been, remains as difficult and mysterious and new as the demo men who have the wood are laconic, merry and quickly gone.
The steel, too, is integral to our design. I’ve done my best to read up on it, source the best with the highest recycled content, and to better understand how the twenty-foot sections we begin with - how they emerge from a three-thousand-degree electric arc furnace, formed from the shredded bits of cars, cans and the rest, white hot, so incredibly close to perfectly straight, regular and true. To create flat, let alone create two independent parallel, plumb lines in the physical world is far more difficult than anyone will tell you.
Our third ingredient that we like to talk about is the air - our materials are wood, steel and air. Possibly we should call it space. Or spatial choreography. If we were still working in architecture we might be able to get away with that kind of beauty and obfuscation. But these days we are often covered in sawdust by midmorning, and if we escape the workshop to have lunch among others, it is a more unassuming type of place we go to, that allows for flecks of dust and steel, a place where we can come up for air. In the same way, we want our pieces to breathe, to hold some amount of compositional air, to give a room sanctuary. Uplifting, and also grounding.
Last, we have a shop cat, a lithe, silk-haired tuxedo named Ida. She regulates our lives as cats will do, letting us know when it is time to get to work, and once we are working, nesting in a pile of shavings under the planer while saws bite and whine. She reminds us that there is redemption and peace in this work, that in the end, this leap of faith that is the beginning of each furniture piece, will end well. We will make it, get it right, dial it in.
We work with wood from a wild Pacific Northwest forest that no longer exists. With fresh steel sections from industrial cauldrons. On laptops, in three-dimensional, gravity-free space. We are bridging parallel worlds, if that’s not reaching at too much. We know the furniture we make is enduring, functional and modern. That it is schooled, from an academic tradition of design and craft. But it is also folk, also found, allowed in by us, only partially, incompletely known. Piece by piece, we are working at articulating a new vernacular.
Our Etsy shop: birdloft.etsy.com
Our downtown Tacoma showroom, Matter:
821 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98402