The marriage of form and function is the ultimate goal for any product designer worth their salt, but few so thoroughly accomplish that union as well as Kate Casey of Peg Woodworking, who (literally and figuratively) weaves the two concepts together with breathtaking results. Her Scandinavian-meets-Shaker style infuses every piece of furniture she makes with an inherent sculpturalism that's as visually captivating as it is practical.
Kate's the newest addition to the Consort family of artists, so it only felt right to greet her like a family does: with a whole barrage of personal questions. She was an excellent sport about the whole thing, and in answering our questionnaire, educated us about the labor-intensive and meticulous process that results in each of her products being true labors of love.
Keep reading to learn about her process for yourself, and then get to browsing her gorgeous array of offerings, just waiting for you to take them home.
Consort: How did you get started in art?
Kate: I went to Massachusetts College of Art and the Yale Norfolk summer program for undergrad, where I majored in printmaking and sculpture, so art making has been a part of my life for quite a while. I've always had an interest in craft, which has led me to experiment in several different materials and continues to influence my designs.
C: Why did you choose your medium?
K: I had been working as a sculptor and fabricator for several years before pursuing woodworking and design. I think my sculptural background taught me a great deal about form and proportion. A year ago I decided to go back to school at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship to hone in more specifically on my skills as a woodworker. I love the medium; it's amazing to me how such an old skill set can still offer such new and interesting forms.
C: What is the most challenging part about working with your medium?
K: For me engineering is the most difficult aspect of woodworking. I am able to make very striking forms, but in order to be a functional piece of furniture the work has to be structurally sound. This tends to take several experiments and prototypes, and being a person who appreciates immediate gratification, this can get difficult and tedious.
C: What is your creative process like?
K: For my creative process I usually find myself obsessing over a form or a shape and need to see it exist in physical space. When these forms present themselves I know I have to act quickly, because often the intensity of the idea will dissipate with time, and what could have been a beautiful idea gets lost with the stresses and distractions of the day.
C: How has your style changed over the years?
K: I have begun to experiment more confidently with different materials. I have a better ability now to see what would complete a piece in a more refined and elegant way. Time has allowed me to focus more heavily on the small details that can seriously complete a design.
C: What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition?
K: For me, a successful composition involves bold shapes and areas of delicate intricacy. I appreciate when design can draw me in and hold my attention, so my work attempts to blend these two elements within each piece.
C: Who are some of the people or what are some time periods that influence your work? Are you attempting to recreate the past in your work, energize the future, or both?
K: Currently I am very heavily influenced by art deco design. The shapes and patterning are so striking and confidant that I find most of my work strives to evoke the same bold lines and intricate geometry. It is definitely born out of a curiosity for this time period and an appreciation for design that comes from it.
C: What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
My favorite non-work day activity is going to the Natural History Museum; it's my happy place.
C: What projects are you working on right now?
K: I'm designing a coffee table that is definitely leaning more towards the sculptural side of my design sense. I love being able to push and blend the divisions of functional and non-functional design.
C: What is your dream project?
K: A desk. I have the design, and I know how good it will be, but in my head it's huge and labor intensive, so I'll have to hope someone trusts me enough to commission it.
C: What food, drink, song inspires you?
Food: chicken wings. Drink: root beer float. Song: 9-5 by Dolly Parton.
C: What is the first piece you sold?
K: A silkscreened sculpture at my first group show in a gallery.
C: What can you first remember really wanting?
K: A Talkboy from Home Alone.
C: When was your first kiss?
K: Middle School
C: What was your first car?
K: Toyota Tercel
C: What was your Last Phone Call?
K: Chicken wing delivery
C: What was your last meal?
K: Chicken wings
C: When was the last time you were drunk?
K: Election night
C: What was the last emoji you used?
K: The hole
C: When was your last vacation?
K: A year ago at Sequoia National Park.
Photos by Peg Woodworking