A Bothell Artist Is Mixing Wood and Metal to Create These Custom Furniture Pieces

Sean Carleton's work can be seen at the Bellevue Arts Museum's Artsfair, July 27-29
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
  • This angular steel and wood bench is one of Sean Carleton’s favorite pieces—and one of the few he’s kept for his own home.
  • A live-edge shelf that doubles as a frame
  • A steel, wood and glass coffee table

This article appears in print in the July 2018 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Bothell artist and craftsman Sean Carleton credits his intimate relationship with nature to the years he spent growing up on a Woodinville farm. That relationship is evident in the angular, industrial-meets–Art Deco furniture and sculptural pieces of mild steel and wood he’s crafted for his business, Carleton Fine Work, since 2013. But the level of craftsmanship speaks to his 15 years of working as a metalworker and woodworker, when he fabricated everything from ferryboats to dairy equipment.

Most of his work is by commission, but pieces are sometimes available at places such as The Island Gallery on Bainbridge Island and Bellingham’s Artwood Gallery.

His designs are sometimes shaped by the materials he’s working with (such as the windshield of a client’s gull-wing aircraft), when he’ll “work around it, as if setting a gem in a ring.” Other times, materials play second fiddle to the design.

Whether he’s building a shelf or a dining table, Carleton says, his most valuable lessons come from making mistakes. Those are the moments when the work shapes him, rather than the other way around.

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