Functional furniture and artistic whimsy don’t usually go hand in hand.

But as a cabinetmaker, illustrator, airbrush expert, and sculptor for most of my life, I have designed just such a line of whimsical furniture, perfect for clients interested in integrating charm with function.

I craft traditional furniture such as tables or cabinets and then carve and paint them into fluid objets d’art.

The idea for artistically carving folds into furniture came to me while visiting a Cincinnati cemetery where I saw a Victorian era tombstone that was embellished with stone-sculpted drapery. I mused about creating the same effect in wood, and the result has been my whimsical furniture collection, such as the pink and lime green Pandora’s Table (see the description of how I created the table in HOW I WORK).

Although I do make sketches for each project, the most important impetus for beginning a piece is to have it in my mind’s eye. I walk around with an idea in my head and look for visual prompts, whether I’m leafing through a magazine or observing my environment. Once I get a picture of what I want to create, the process just flows.

The main skills necessary for this type of work are those of drawing and carving, abilities that I acquired from four years of studying sculpture and fine art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. For years I worked as a professional illustrator, pioneering the technique in Cincinnati of using airbrushing as an illustration style instead of merely as a retouching tool. I later taught myself computer-based illustration, spending every waking moment studying applications until I was versed in them.

Twelve years ago my love of residential renovation and dedication to combining beauty and function led me to open Artistic Cabinetry, my business designing and constructing high-end built-in cabinetry and free-standing furniture. Having taken a woodworking course years earlier, I got up to speed by intensively instructing myself in all phases of cabinetry design and execution. It is with this perseverance that I solve every creative problem.

I regularly pour over woodworking books and magazines (I’ve been a Fine Woodworking subscriber since the very first issue in November of 1975), studying a range of craftsmanship styles -- Arts and Crafts, traditional English Colonial, and Shaker -- and constantly adding new tips and methods to my repertoire.

To discuss commissioning me for projects in painted furniture, carved tables, custom cabinetry, or sculpture, contact me at (513) 470-1958 or Jim Williams.