A few months ago I headed out about 45 minutes north of Nevada City down a dusty mountain road to find a surprisingly sophisticated workshop.
Erickson Woodworking is a father-son duo that is designing and crafting some of the most impressive furniture I've ever seen.
Sit down: The design world is practically littered with high-end chairs that make better sculptures than they do seats. Not Erickson’s chairs. “We want our chairs to be sat in and to be comfortable. It’s an absolute focus of what we do,” he says. “We think we make the most comfortable wood chairs in the world.”
Museum worthy: Erickson’s pieces are sought after by furniture collectors across the country (the East Coast is a big market for him) as well as world-class museums. His iconic Van Muyden chair is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; his floating back rocker is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
The love of it: “I love the craft of building things. At the end of the day, you see your product right before you—that’s a very satisfying process. Also, any time anyone orders something from us, I feel a validation that what we’re doing has some meaning to other people. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that.”
The next generation: Erickson’s son, Tor, recently joined the business, a development that has fueled both Erickson’s imagination and his optimism about the company’s future. “Most people are slowing down at this age, but having Tor in the business has created this new creative burst that’s very exciting,” says the 67-year-old Erickson. “There is a new generation, a new vision.”
Where to buy: Locally, Erickson’s chairs can be seen at Mowen Solinsky Gallery in Nevada City. Buyers can also arrange to visit his workshop north of Nevada City. The custom-made chairs range from $3,000 to $7,000.