Meet Dave Kelsey: Wood

When I was four my Dad, an architect, began building furniture, most of which survives today. I watched and assisted. As I grew up I realized how fulfilling it was to create something that had lasting value. In addition, I realized that value was related to design, technique, and detail.

As a matter of necessity, when I became a teacher, I began to make my own furniture. Over the years I learned the basics of good design and technique. I make items which relate to the Arts & Crafts, Mission, Art Nouveau, and Shaker, styles. I call my basic style, modified mission. This sort of combines these styles. I am particularly drawn to the work of Greene & Greene, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Stickley.

In an era where so many things have limited life times and are designed to be thrown away, I make every effort to produce items which will last many lifetimes and become part of the heritage of those who purchase my work.

Wood is a natural, renewable resource and if we use it wisely, we can continue to take advantage of its unique properties. It is always distinguished from other mediums and is never mistaken for them. There is a distinct difference between something made from clay, or iron, or plastic and wood. It is its “aliveness” which creates that distinction. Wood never dies. Yet every species of wood has a different characteristic that allows one to take the same design and create a different object. A pine chest is not the same as a cedar chest even though every design element is the same. Even after being sawn into lumber and made into an object, it continues to change. It responds to changes in humidity, temperature, and Sun light.


Any successful piece must, in its design, take into account all of these variables. There is great satisfaction in taking a rough piece of lumber or a distorted slab of wood and turning it into a beautiful object. This gives me the energy and satisfaction in what I do.

I accept commissions. Part of the pleasure in working in this medium is working with clients and designing things that they participate in creating.