Hugh Montgomery

Hugh at his workbench

I specialize in designing and building contemporary furniture that has been influenced by early American (Shaker and Craftsman) and European furniture (Scandinavian design). My designs reflect the lasting character of these traditional styles with a refined modern flare. Many of my designs have repeating elements and play with the balance between the gracefulness of a curve and the rigidity of a straight line. I use traditional building methods such as mortise and tennon joinery, veneering, and bent wood processes. The finest commercial veneers, solid wood, and re-sawn veneers are often incorporated into my furniture designs to achieve a consistent color match or to take advantage of a figured board. My approach to furniture making is a balance between traditional hand skills and effective machine use.

I believe that a well proportioned piece of furniture should capture the eye of the beholder from a distance and entice them to come closer and examine and touch the piece. I strive to build within these parameters and seek to draw attention to my furniture by enlivening traditional forms with subtle details such as beveled relief, delicate inlay, curved and angled elements, tapered legs and contrasting woods. These finely executed details are what give my pieces there handcrafted appeal.

I attribute my interest in woodworking to numerous factors including my love of working with my hands and appreciation of the traditional architecture and furniture designs that I was exposed to while growing up in Maine. After earning a BA degree in biology with a minor in economics from Middlebury College in Vermont, I built houses in coastal Maine. Being interested in design and construction, I enrolled in the Boston Architectural Center (BAC) where I attended school for a year and a half and worked full-time for an architectural firm. Though I left BAC before completing the program, I gained from that experience design and drafting techniques that I still use in my work today. I then moved to Seattle in 1990 and began working in a cabinetmaking shop. Seeking to refine my woodworking skills, I apprenticed with a furniture maker in a co-op shop and took furniture making classes including a class in advanced furniture making processes taught by renowned furniture maker, Michael Fortune at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockland, Maine.

In addition to operating my own business, I have worked as the instructional technician for the University of Washington's School of Art woodshop and co-taught woodworking classes at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. My work has been included in several recent publications including Lark Books 500 Chairs: Celebrating Traditional & Innovative Designs and 500 Tables: Inspiring Interpretations of Function and Style , as well as Taunton Press' Design Book Eight: Original Furniture From the World's Finest Craftsmen.

Since 1995, I have run my own custom woodworking studio/shop. Today, I live on Bainbridge Island and build furniture and custom cabinets in my shop located on my property.  

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