By OCinSite At-Large | June 20, 2011 10:53 AM
By Kim Zep | OCinSite.com
Will Silverman is a designer and maker of contemporary furniture. He grew up in Brookline, MA, located on the outskirts of Boston and studied at the internationally renowned North Bennet Street School in Boston’s North End, completing the two year Cabinet and Furniture Making Program and honing a talent that belied his youth. It was there that he began his own venture, WPS Furniture.
In the summer of 2008 he came to Laguna Beach and instantly connected with the quaint artist town. Not long after that visit he began planning his return for good and working toward his goal of becoming a exhibitor in the Laguna Beach festivals. This summer will be three years in the making for Will—his work is on display at this year’s Sawdust Festival.
“7 Degrees Entry Table” - Sapele, Macassar Ebony, Gaboon Ebony, 60 x 35 x 17
You can see Will’s furniture designs and the fruits of his mad woodworking skills this summer (booth #250) but it’s here that he shares with OCinSite a bit of his backstory and inspiration.
OCinSite: When did you first discover your woodworking talents?
Will Silverman: In high school wood shop class all the other kids were making baseball bats and canoe paddles while I made a mahogany garden bench. I would come in early and have the teacher sign me out of my next two classes so that I could work on it as much as possible.
OCinSite: Do you have any influences or anyone you look up to when it comes to designing a piece of furniture?
WS: I learned how to design and build furniture by studying the masterworks of 17th and 18th century cabinetmakers in American and Europe. My teachers at the North Bennet Street School in Boston instilled in me great respect for the strength, correct proportion, and attention to detail that define period furniture.
California’s Sam Maloof has also had an enormous impact on my designs, steering me away from period reproductions and toward my own modern look.
OCinSite: What about your hand tools and machines? Do you modify them at all in order to achieve a certain effect?
WS: I don’t have any modified machines, but I have probably a hundred different jigs and patterns to use with my machines to create irregular shapes and compound angle joinery.
Will, at work in his Laguna Canyon studio.
OCinSite: What project are you currently working on?
WS: In the shop I’m working on a small shaker style table that will hold a sculpture by Laguna Beach artist Gerard Basil Stripling.
On the drawing board, I’m working on a solid wood chaise lounge. It’s a design that I have been sketching different versions of since I was about ten years old.
OCinSite: When did you launch WPS Furniture, and what are your goals for the business?
WS: I started WPS Custom Furniture back in Boston in the summer of 2008 while I was still in school. I often enjoy the pleasurable experience of catering to a customer’s custom needs and jointly coming to a new design for their piece. However, currently the goal for WPS Furniture is to move away from custom work and create a line of minimalist, hand crafted furniture that will stand on its own.
My personal goal is to create pieces that will last for centuries and remain timelessly beautiful and elegant.
OCinSite: Lastly, describe yourself in five words.
WS: Attentive. Reserved. Passionate. Modest. Blessed.