Garrett Michael is a craftsman out of Vancouver, Washington that along with partners, Dan McCarl and Justin Appel opened Makers Woodworks in 2013. They specialize in building and installing custom furniture for people or businesses in the Portland metro area. The passion for their work comes through in the pieces they build; “When the client tells you they love the piece, then we’re happy,” says Garrett.
1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman?
2. How did you get started?
I was introduced to woodworking in about 6th grade. I loved the ability to create something tangible from rough lumber with machinery and hand tools. There’s also an element of danger and caution you always have to keep in mind.
3. Why wood?
I think I was kind of drawn to it. It’s so random and varied in species; each has its own distinct characteristic, color, pattern, even within that species. Wood is workable, yet super strong, and has a warmth that invites you to feel it. It’s also kind of instant gratification seeing an idea progress through different stages and take shape. You can change direction along the way.
4. What was the first thing you made from wood?
I don’t remember the first thing, probably a mirror or something like that. I do remember making an 8 sided box in a school shop early on.
5. What does being creative meant to you?
Expression. The thought of coming up with something that’s interesting and just a little different than anything you’ve done yet. You can’t help but get inspired by all the awesome stuff being created out there.
6. Do you have any rituals?
Coffee in the morning.
7. What is your favorite piece?
That’s a tough question, there are really so many. I’ve really become partial to the mid-century stuff over last few years.
8. Who inspires you?
There are so many awesomely talented people out there, you see fantastic stuff all the time these days with social media. Historically, maybe Tage Frid, Sam Maloof, Greene brothers, even some architecture is inspiring. And I can’t forget my wife.
9. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
That we are into what we are doing and want our clients to love it.
10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
Don’t know, can’t imagine that at this point. I’ve always wanted to fly though…
11. Ultimate piece you want to create
I would love to build my own home.
12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX?
The rain…haha. The casual vibe, color, music and art scene, biking, and the FOOD.
13. Favorite song?
Too many; I could change daily. I love music.
14. Favorite bridge?
St Johns, though there are still one or two cool old covered bridges around town…I think.
15. Favorite neighborhood?
Hmmm… maybe Laurelhurst. There are so many great areas.
16. What’s your favorite tool?
Whatever I need for the next step.
Garrett Michael from Makers Woodworks at read:grain, works with reclaimed wood on Friday, April 28th from 4-7pm during Design Week Portland. For more information, go here.