Continuum of Craft
Owned and operated by Sten Havumaki, Oak & Laurel Workshop is located in a 19th century textile mill on the Saco River in the heart of Biddeford, Maine.
Sten designs custom furniture and architectural ornaments inspired by the deep Classical design tradition and it's emphasis on beauty. He often collaborates with architects, designers, fellow cabinet shops and directly with clients to meet the precise functional and aesthetic requirements of the project.
Sten has great respect for traditional craftsmanship and the collective working knowledge distilled through the ages. In this spirit, all designs and scale drawings are hand rendered by Sten and he carves by hand using traditional tools and methods. However, he is not motivated by nostalgia. There simply is no substitute for the skilled human hand combined with sharp tools when high quality woodwork and ornament is required; no other way to achieve the surface quality created by the gouges and the deep undercutting necessary to create the shadows that bring life and exuberance to the finished design.
The pieces Sten builds are designed to last. It is his hope that generations to come will value and enjoy the endurance of beauty and quality.
Hand Drawn, Hand Made.
Working by hand allows for the maximum control and precision that is crucial at certain phases of the design and fabrication of a piece. Trained hands have the ability to detect and adapt to the irregularity of the material and achieve the fineness of detail with sharp tools and a judicious eye. As a result, every wood chip represents an intentional design decision by Sten.
Words from the maker:
Function and beauty.
“My work is not only about function, it's also about beauty. Beauty is a major goal of classical architecture and it is what drives me in my work and design. It's humbling to be a small part of this tradition”
Design in abstract thoughts.
“When you design you're not thinking in words. You're thinking in shapes. Then you draw your ideas and try to make the best line or curve. When you build a piece you've drawn it's like seeing a dream come to life.”
A universal activity.
“There's a basic visceral pleasure about a sharp plane going over a piece of wood or a sharp chisel cutting though oak and manipulating this material. Working with hand tools is a universal activity and carving is an art form that goes back to almost the beginning of time.”
Watch the progress:
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