It’s been nearly two decades since Jesse Shaw spent a year at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine, but the passions he discovered and techniques he explored while there continue to illuminate his work. “Steam-bending really captivated me,” Shaw says, “I loved that you could bend wood like magic.” Teachers David Caldwell and David Upfill-Brown had much to share about how to make the magic happen. At the time, Shaw had been musing over something he’d read, in a book called The Curves of Life, about the importance of spiral shapes in everything from mollusk shells to the Milky Way. He decided to braid these two new ideas together and try steam-bending a spiral. After producing a coatrack from a twist of steam-bent sticks, he found a function he thought better suited the spiral form, and he had soon made the first of his standing lamps. But what shade could match the energy and excitement of the interlaced legs? A serendipitous discovery made while holding a thin slice of wood to the light revealed to him “the hidden beauty within the wood.” And he had his answer: The shade of his lamp would be a rolled cone of burl veneer.
From Fine Woodworking #291