John Thoe

  • John Thoe's picture
    Resident of Seattle, WA
    John's interest in woodworking began in Norway at the age of 19. He studied woodcarving and refined this skill at the University of Iowa. Since 1982 he has focused on creating period and sculpted furniture.
3/4 view of Large Oval
Straight on image shows the mirror image of paired parts; legs connect to each other at the top, arm rests at the back
This small table fits into a large room with 2 drop in leaves
Photo of Laurel Table with Butterfly Leaf  by John Thoe
Each leg has a different floral configuration
This table has a small square of Tiger maple on the top of the legs
The arm chair on the left is accompanied by it's side chair
Photo of Laurel Dining Table by John Thoe
Norwegian Baroque Sculpture
The crest rail is one piece! There's almost as much time making this part as the entire settee.
3/4 view of Large Oval
Viewed 3/4 from the rear
Photo of Dogwood Bloom Buffet and Dining Hutch by John Thoe
Carved disks with one square
Thoe Fan Chair
Photo of Buffet by John Thoe
The Neo, short for Neo contemporary, has rear legs set 1 1/2" closer to each other and 12 degrees set more parallel to each other
High figure cherry
Photo of Entry Bench by John Thoe
Entrance table and mirror was my entrance piece for the Gallery's 30th anniverary show. We were to exhib an art piece that I took to heart.
Photo of Linnea Chairs by John Thoe
hand carved wood spoons
Photo of Custom Carved Mantel by John Thoe
My 2nd show piece for the 30th Anniversary gallery opening
Photo of Laurel Dining Table with Linnea Chairs by John Thoe
I've bleached and stained this frame to achieve this color
The Grande sized Fan chairs are 1 1/2" wider and 2" taller
Special 5 star log for the table top

I first learned woodcarving in the mountains of Norway at the age of seventeen, while spending my senior year going to school in a small town in the Telemark region. My teacher, Kjitel Hesteledalen, was a local woodcarver who had been trained in the traditional Norwegian Baroque and Rococo styles of carving. He was also something of an anarchist and believed in experimenting with new forms and in using a diversity of styles. I trace my own interest in experimental designs and diverse styles of carving to Kjitel's early influence.

I entered college upon my return home, but after a year was drafted into the Army. While in the army, I spent one year on the First Infantry Division Parachute Team as a skydiver, doing exhibition skydiving events in 16 states. Perhaps the only draftee ever to become a recruiter. After my service, I returned to college at the University of Iowa. I graduated in 1978 with a BFA in sculpture. In 1976, I spent the year studying Art History in Kiel, West Germany. At the end of my year in Kiel I returned to Norway once again to study with Kjitel. During this time I concentrated on mastering the design and craftsmanship of traditional Norwegian Kubbestolen, or traditional chairs carved from tree trunks. In 1982, I started my own furniture business designing period style furniture and sculpted modern furniture in Iowa City. In 1987, I moved to Seattle and replaced burned-out carved panels in the Episcopal Dioceses Leary Mansion on Capitol Hill.

I thoroughly enjoy creating pieces that coordinate with existing furniture and architecture. Many of these pieces began as a rough sketch of someone's fantasy, details from which I use in my design. Currently, my personal work is inspired by nature. I have pieces in the lobby of the Washington Athletic Club, and The Sunset Club on Capitol Hill in Seattle, The Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon, and in many prominent west coast homes.

Read about John Thoe in the press
Studio furniture-makers transcend nature, one unique piece at a time
(Link to article)
The Seattle Times December 7, 2008

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