“Wood is in my blood,” states Stillwater, MN artist Joel Nichols. “It took me awhile to figure that out, but it is. My grandfather and all his brothers were loggers in northern Wisconsin from the time they were in their early teens. My dad is a carpenter. I pretty much grew up with the carpentry trade. From the time I was about 10 or 11, I had full access to my dad’s modest workshop. A 10-year-old kid with access to a woodworking shop is a dangerous thing – not because of what they might cut off, but for what they might actually build. We would build all sorts of crazy contraptions, most of it weaponry for taking on the Bigfoot that lived in the woods by our house. We even built a launching device that could put a golf ball into orbit.
During my last semester in college I was forced to take an art class in order to graduate. The only thing open was a jewelry class. I figured I could get by with minimal effort and pass the class just so I could get the credits. As it turned out, I was pretty good at making jewelry and lots of other stuff too. It wasn’t long before I realized my future was not in business, it was in making things. Combine my carpentry skills with the ability to design something and you’ve got yourself a furniture maker, and that is what I am.”