HANDS DOWN CALECHEE BOUND
THE PHILOSOPHY OF SIMPLE THINGS...
The pleasure of minimal aesthetics and expert craftsmanship are the foundations of Philomath Woodworks. Robert Morrissey combines centuries-old traditional Japanese woodworking techniques with his well-known expertise in mid-century Modern, Shaker and Craftsman furniture to offer this new line of unique, lovingly-handmade and naturally-finished wood designs for your home. Drawing on his study with the famed Japanese woodworker, Toshio Odate, Robert imbues the philosophy of simplicity and the beauty of tradition into his pieces. The result of each is a one-of-a-kind, simple, clean and honest sculptural furniture work of art and function.
THE PHILOMATH WOODWORKS STORY...
Philomath Woodworks was founded in 2020 as an artistic blending of Robert Morrissey's life-long passions: woodworking and sculpture.
Robert designed and made furniture under the name Head, Heart, and Hand from 1988 to 2018. During that time the business became highly regarded as a benchmark of quality handmade furniture.
For Robert, it was time for a creative change and the idea for Philomath Woodworks was born.
Named after a lyric in one of Robert's favorite R.E.M. songs, Philomath is a small town in Georgia that serves as a place for inspiration. Fittingly, "philomath" is Greek, meaning "a lover of learning" and "scholar."
The seed of combining disciplines was originally-planted in Robert 34 years ago at Purchase College where renowned traditional Japanese woodworker and tool master, Toshio Odate was teaching while Robert was working towards his B.F.A. in sculpture. At that time, the sculpture and furniture programs shared the same woodshop and this fortunate coincidence allowed Robert to pursue both disciplines with equal vigor and spend the next few years exploring their symmetry.
After graduating from Purchase College, Robert signed to be represented by The Bill Bace Gallery in New York City. Robert spent the next ten years showing his sculpture and drawings in solo- and group-exhibitions around New York and Canada.
Robert's sculptures have been featured and
reviewed in many periodicals, including ARTnews and ART IN AMERICA. Robert's work is also in many prestigious collections including those of Allen Ginsberg, Edward Albee, and the permanent collection of Yale University Art Gallery.
Ultimately, the pull toward making furniture full-time was the impetus for starting Head, Heart, and Hand where mastering woodworking skills consumed him.
The challenge and mastery of Robert's Philomath wood works are a continuation and deepening of this passion.
On a personal note:
As an adult Robert was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The relevance of the diagnoses is that it's answered a lifelong riddle and solved a mystery of why Robert has always followed a particular path of pure aesthetics and an obsession with craftsmanship. The diagnosis validated Robert's most important beliefs about quality, beauty, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and integrity of both the maker and client above all other things.
These are the qualities of Philomath Woodworks.
Robert lives in Livingston, Montana with his wife, Jill, their golden retriever named Wally, and two shop cats, Peaches and Woody.
Making Kumiko Video
Kumiko is a delicate and sophisticated technique of assembling wooden pieces without the use of nails. Thinly slit wooden pieces are grooved, punched, mortised, and then fitted individually using a plane, saw, chisel and other tools to make fine adjustments. After dry fitting I then reassemble using glue to make the Kumiko structural for furniture.
The technique was developed in Japan in the Asuka Era (600-700 AD), and has since been refined and
passed down through generations of craftsmen who are passionate about the tradition of kumiko.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"my walnut coffee table is simply the nicest thing in my house, I can't wait to buy a console table"
— sharon, napa,ca