I have been designing and building furniture for since 1980… whew! Although my styles have changed and my skills have grown, the philosophy that guides my work remains constant. I like simple, sturdy furniture that people aren’t afraid to use. Delicate furniture requiring extreme care seems counterproductive to me; we should be able to coexist with our furnishings, rather than fear breaking them. Children, family pets and houseguests are constant reminders of this!
Some of the biggest influences upon my style include the furniture designs of the Japanese, Shakers and obviously, the Danish Modern movement. After reading James Krenov’s trilogy of woodworking books many years ago, my work was forever changed. His writings taught me a great deal about wood grain and pattern management. I stopped using wood as simply a building material and began to see it as my color palette. Krenov also taught me that a piece of furniture can be dedicated to a single goal, be it housing a violin or displaying a single vase. I have been pursuing that “sacred space” concept in my work ever since.
In 1990, I began to study tile making in hopes of adding colors and highlights to my wooden pieces. Tiles suit my work for two reasons; they provide a layer of functionality by protecting surfaces from heat or moisture, and they add a colorful focal point to my work. I love color!
My current designs are dedicated to holding important items that we use on a daily basis. I build two distinct pieces of furniture: custom-tiled tables and storage benches. Both pieces incorporate an attractive, utilitarian sense of order and a safe, secure method of storage.
These tables are designed to hold your precious items. These are different for everyone and could be a wristwatch, keys, wedding rings, or even a nightly medicine. My tiles provide the perfect place to keep them safe. The storage benches are multidimensional. Lined with aromatic cedar, they provide safe storage of clothing or blankets. Additionally, the interior is large enough to accommodate hanging file rails which allows conversion to a filing cabinet in minutes.
All of these pieces are hand rubbed with several coats of Danish oil, followed by an application of paste wax. They are meant to be used heartily, and if scratches and/or dents occur, repairs are usually easy and effective. Life should be that simple!
Jamie Ann Yocono
Las Vegas, NV