Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview: Ron Weaver

Name: Ron Weaver
Occupation: Furniture maker/mid century modern dealer
Location: Sacramento, CA
Etsy shop:

1. What kind do you make? And where can we purchase?

I make mostly furniture but have also done some lighting and decorative housewares. Most of my furniture designs have been for outdoor and use steel as the main material. Almost all have been custom made for customers who I work directly with. Often its an Interior designer or architect and usually designs are modified to meet the cutomers specific requirements. In years past I sold through some retail stores but that is not a viable outlet these days. Recently I put a couple of spec designs up for sale on Etsy and have sold a few things that way. For small makers like myself the internet is really the only avenue to reach potential customers. Thankfully this has become a truly viable medium and people are looking for unique items this way now.

2. What do you enjoy most about working in this medium?

I have been passionate about furniture design for almost 25 years and doing a varity of things full time that relate to it. When I'm not making pieces I am active studing 20th century and contemporay design, visiting museum collections around the world, attending contemporay furniture fairs in Milan, New York, Stockholm, writing articles about 20th century design, working with other studio furniture makers, self produced my own designs as well as licenced them to other companies and buying/selling vintage classics. In some way or another "furniture design" is what my life revolves around. I'm not sure why its been my main focus for so long but I can't imagine doing anything else.

3. What challenges have you found in your work?

Being into furniture design has been very rewarding but often not highly profitable. The trade off for doing what I like is worth it for me though. The main challange is probably finding good working relationships with people who want what you make or design. Custom work takes a lot of time figuring and solving design issues and can run into many snags along the way. Spec work is fun but doesn't always pay off. To overcome these challanges I've tried to find a balance as well as stay diverse in the things I do. I've always worked as single person doing everything myself so there is a limit to how much you can actually do. Hiring people or trying to grow into a larger entity is not something I wanted to do.

4. Where do you find inspiration?

I come from a metal sculpture background so this is my main skill set and aesthetic preference. I have been collecting and dealing in Mid-century modern design for about 20 years as well. Most of my work tends to be heavily influenced by this period. This sounds almost cliche to say now with the popularity of this genre but 20 years ago hardly anyone was talking about it. In particular I was most influnced by work done on the West Coast in the post war years. Designers like Van Keppel-Green, Luther Conover, Wes Williams, Dorthy Schindele, Greta Grossman, who mostly worked in metal and created pieces for indoor/outdoor living. Their work all was pragmatic, durable, modernistic, architecturally relivant to its environment and above all asthetically pleasing. I try to build these same qualities into my designs. In addition to looking at the past for inspiration I find that contempoary art and architecture are the driving force behind making relivant and interesting contemporay design. In fact all 3 influance each other and would not exist without the other.

5. What are your favorite artists, designer or blogs.

A few of the contemporay artist/designers that really inpire me are: Adrea Zittel, Geatano Pesce, the Campana Brothers, Konstantin Grcic, the Bouroullec Brothers, and the Droog design group. These people have all brought about new and interesting directions in design in the last decade and consistanly produce great and timeless work. I don't follow too many blogs, as there are so many good ones these days and its hard to keep up. I do check in with Designboom, Freshhome, and Apartment Therapy from time to time. Blogging has really become a hot bed for the exchange of design ideas and has created a great think tank that has really brought great design to the masses. Great ideas come and go so fast these days though. Its really a shame that most of these great ideas never even get seen let alone produced. The level of human creativity and enginuity is really staggering. I really feel like my work is just a grain of sand on a beach of great ideas that are out there.

I have attached a few images of pieces which I am particualrly proud of.

Foam rubber Club chair done in 2003
Malecon outdoor lounge chair done in 2001
Spring back dining chair done in 2009
Quad outdoor chaise lounge done in 2002

Additional images of my work;


lrhuchel3 said...

I love Ron's work. He's made superb and original flower vases as well.

Furniture Artist said...

Really like Ron's modernistic/clean/rustic designs. I love furniture design as well and enjoyed reading over someone who has dedicated his life on this passion. Thanks you so much for sharing! :)