Some of you may or may not know Adam King. For those that do, you may know him from Twitter, or his blogs, or from various podcasts. If you don’t and you appreciate any combination of fine-art, woodworking, advanced design concepts along with good conversation, then you should get to know Adam.
I started following Adam on twitter after hearing him as a guest on Matt Vanderlist’s “Spoken Wood podcast back in early February. After visiting his online blogs, I was quickly impressed by the focus and divergence from conventional and period design.
Adam King is originally from Olney, Illinois and grew up around a family-owned furniture business. His artistic influence spans the globe and he strives to integrate subtle hints into his designs and work. An example is his floor lamp which uses Japanese influence in theme execution. As with most of his work, after seeing it over time and more closely, there are a surprising amount of beautiful details throughout the piece. As a result, each is a special one-off item that provides the owner with a multi-purpose and complimentary solution. This ability, natural or otherwise, inherently makes some people want to put more originality into their work. It’s easy to envy guys like Adam who create with an identity and style that is all their own.
Exquisite floor lamp
One of the unique aspects about Adam is the way he “separates” the business and craftsman parts of his professional life. He offers potential clients a clean, focused presentation at the Adam King website. At the same time, he maintains the Woodworker’s Journey site filled with provoking thoughts about woodworking in general.
I was fortunate to get Adam to take time and answer some questions about himself and his work. We hope you enjoy the interview and find some inspiration from this accomplished artist.
BHW: Your work displays what can easily be described by some as advanced, elegant design. So much so, that people often wonder how you learned such skill and application. Can you tell us about your creative upbringing and influences?
Adam: I was always encouraged to be creative and to use my hands, eyes, mind growing up. My Dad and Grandpa would entertain me by giving me scrap wood and hand tools. From very early on, I took a strong interest in Japanese culture. So much so that as I grew up I studied anything and everything I could about the culture and society, both modern and ancient. My influences grow and mature as I do in the craft. I used to be influenced by Japanese, Arts and Crafts, Prairie, and Shaker furniture. Now, due to my deepening interest in knowing my root inspirations, my influences are the original ideas and intentions behind those styles.
BHW: As is indicated by your name, you choose to work in a “Studio” and not a “Workshop”. Can you tell us more about that important distinction?
Adam: Honestly, it was all for the sake of a domain name. Workshop was too long and adamkingfurniture.com was tied up in a battle at the time, so I went with studio. It really wasn’t intended to separate myself from certain levels of woodworking. Now, however, I believe it does bring a more “serious” content to the site and its offerings.
BHW: You’re relatively new in an up-and-coming way to the professional side of your work, but it’s clear that you chose to focus on offering a specific quality of work to clients. What helped you finally decide on that business model?
Ginkgo Hall Bench: African Mahogany
Adam: A string of very bad experiences! I’m sort of joking, but after several years of doing commissions that did not interest me, nor did they challenge me. I knew my abilities coming out of school, and knew the end goal of what I wanted to do with my furniture, so after selling myself short for years, I decided it was time to rebrand myself and focus on positioning myself to be able to make the kind of work I truly desired to make.
BHW: On the business side, for those thinking of pursuing their own in a similar profession, what advice would you offer to someone pondering or just starting up?
Adam: Take time to step back and get a realistic view of who you are as a woodworker and furniture maker. Also take time to get clear on what you really want to do with your woodworking. Do you want to make one of a kind humidors? Are you into antique restoration? What activities about woodworking do you enjoy the most? Get clear on what you want to do and how you want to do it. That’s where you start. That’s what will drive all other activities in your woodworking.
BHW: It’s possible that you are the nicest guy in the Twitter world as I’m sure many will agree. Your blogs are a very comfortable place to visit also. How does social networking fit into your world of sharing and creativity?
Tansu Cabinet: Butternut, Figured Walnut, Cypress, and Poplar
Adam: Two years ago, it didn’t. At least not online. After a long time of looking at social media, I finally jumped in. Now, after learning from some of the top people online, I use it to fuel creativity, gather ideas, help others, and really connect to a new group of people with whom I can add value and they can do the same.
BHW: When you’re not in the studio or doing something productive online or otherwise, what do you like to do to unwind, relax and get the so-called creative juices flowing?
Adam: Unwind? I’m not sure I know what that is. Well, I read, a lot. I’m reading blogs, magazines, books. Also, walking, bike riding, a little guitar.
BHW: I understand you are working on a new production.. instructional material for furniture design. What can we look forward to learning? Will Adam King Studio offer some secret insight into creativity and the process?
Adam: Well, Adam King Studio will not. The Woodworker’s Journey will be taking a new turn soon, to provide resources that will answer some of the biggest woodworking questions that just don’t seems to get addressed often enough or clear enough.
BHW: Any closing comments?
Adam: Fear can be your greatest block, keeping you from working at the level you desire. You have enough tools, you have enough resources at your disposal, you have everything you need to go out and get the experience to become the woodworker you have always seen in your mind’s eye. Let nothing or no one deter you from that.
Those closing words are consistent with those of so many successful people. “Do” more. Everything else is a distraction, necessary or otherwise.
Thanks to Adam for spending some time with us. We will certainly watch with anticipation as Adam’s design legacy unfolds.
Thanks for reading!
Your Arctic Woodworking Friend,
-- Troy Bouffard || Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired) || http://www.birchhillwoodcrafts.com