artist - musician - craftsman
and furniture maker
[July 4, 2021]
simply revland: HGTV (1999)
Nearly three years ago, in 1996, something fresh called “Google” had been invented. Not sure who came up with that ostentatious moniker, but that was comfortably above my pay grade. They christened it as a “search engine,” which took me a year or two to wrap my skull around, but once I was able, the expansive world of opportunity showed up at my door.
Up until now, as a furniture maker, the choice of wood species available to me was limited to a selective number of lumber yards and saw mills, and if anyone is remotely acquainted with wood species native to North America, the term “pervasively boring” comes to mind. Most of my furniture made between 1974 and 1997 was made from Oak, Maple, Ash, Birch, or Cherry, all primarily sourced locally and regionally. Blasé to say the least, knowing what was on the horizon.
Most recently, I had discovered what was commonly known as the World Wide Web, courtesy of Google, and I couldn’t seem to get enough of it. All I had to do was type “wood for furniture making” into my computer and up would come hundreds of certified wood slab purveyors from Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica, not to mention California and Oregon, home to the highly-figured and sought-after “Claro” Walnut species. Oh my God. I was a kid in a candy store with eyes the size of saucers. Huge, luscious whole slabs of wood, not just boards that must be glued together, had now entered my stratospheric curiosity. I could hardly sleep at night.
California "Claro" walnut.
I now had the ability to manipulate massive multi-colored, prolifically-grained slabs of Monkeypod, Mango, Parota, Prima Vera, Santa Maria, Acacia. And ... I could legitimately go on forever with the vast variety of exotic woods available to me now. The beauty of these tropical exotics was so breathtaking, I didn’t know if I could ever go back to the mundane and monotonous local fare again.
I also couldn’t wait to create my own World Wide Web business site, as the potential to expose my wares to the world was astonishing and mind-boggling. What an invention! Whoever came up with this concept could reap millions.
After showing my new art furniture at two local art galleries, the “Art Connection” and “Nine Artists” gallery, my confidence level was currently at its highest, and my desire to create art was pretty much all I thought about, which at the time, was exceedingly necessary and therapeutic.
As I approached my 46th birthday, I was philosophically-focused, calm and clearheaded, and, most importantly, eight years sober.
Costa Rican monkeypod.
Olive wood from the Holy Land.
The last few weeks, I had been preparing for a featured appearance on HGTVs “Modern Masters” program. I was one of four artists chosen from North Dakota to appear on this weekly series, based on precise criteria, but not exactly certain what that criteria was. Perhaps there was a specific doofus level required to participate, as this was something I assuredly specialized in. I would be featured creating the Revland Signature Chair, as well as one of my latest designs, the “Enterprise” coffee table ... all the while trying my best not to shed embarrassment on the great city of Fargo.
The Revland "Signature Chair
as featured on HGTV.
The "Enterprise" coffee table.
In preparation for my appearance, because we only had 10 hours to film inside my studio, I needed to create three chairs in specific stages of completion. In comparison, imagine a cooking show with Julia Child, where she first prepares a soufflé, but then takes another one out of the oven. Bon Appetit! With any luck, this could be a delightfully purposeful dance between a man and an inanimate object. How conceptual!
I tried my darnedest to control myself during the taping, but I’m sure I scored a 9.8 on the doofus scale. The entire orchestration became a be-careful-what-you-wish-for moment, consisting of 10 stressed-filled hours, condensed and edited down to 10 minutes, and in the process of airing, the sale of 32 “Signature Chairs” nationwide the next day.
I soon knew what I’d be waltzing with for the next 12 months. Turn on the bubble machine!
More to come.