There’s a reason why Ethan Abramson’s furniture is on display in a fine art gallery: the pieces are works of art.
His wooden furniture is all handcrafted, using old-world techniques to achieve a unique and modern aesthetic. It’s definitely not cookie-cutter furniture, mass-produced by a machine. This wood is brought to life, and in many cases it’s reincarnated and brought back to life after being salvaged.
“I like to do it where I see the wood and build from there. I do it more sculpturally than mechanically,” Mr. Abramson said during a telephone interview from his home in Westchester, New York. “I like to see the piece of wood and if there is a giant knot or a giant crack I work to incorporate that. It’s what gives each piece its personality and character,”
Mr. Abramson, who is 29, grew up in East Hampton and started his furniture company, Ethan Abramson, in Brooklyn in 2008. He has since moved the shop and his home to Westchester, but his furniture is currently on display at Scott Bluedorn’s Neoteric Fine Art in Amagansett, a gallery that presents mostly young, local and emerging artists and designers. Each piece that he makes, in the gallery and otherwise, is custom-made.
“Everything is handcrafted to order. I don’t have a warehouse somewhere, I feel that it’s important to build it as it comes and to build it for the specific person. There’s variations in wood, could be a variation in style,” Mr. Abramson said.
Chairs and tables are his favorite pieces to make, said the designer, who graduated from Bard College with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts. And he encourages custom sizing, he said, adding that the turnaround for each commissioned piece is two to three weeks.
Before opening his own business, the woodworker was a commercial interior designer designing spaces and building brands for clients that included Calvin Klein, Macy’s and Sony. He also had a stint in advertising where he wrote and produced commercials for Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball.
“I just kind of, for lack of a better word, got over being in the corporate culture,” he said. “I wanted to figure out something where I could be creative on my own and handle it start to finish.”
His grandfather was a woodworker who owned a custom cabinet shop, but the shop was sold off before Mr. Abramson got started in furniture making himself. Although he did not have the chance to work with his grandfather, the designer did inherit his planes and chisels, which he had refurbished and uses today.
Mr. Abramson is a firm believer in thinking that older tools are usually better tools. He feels the same way about the materials he uses to build his furniture as well, getting much of it from Astoria-based Build It Green! NYC, which sells salvaged wood. He’s also always on the lookout for some good wood.
“Anywhere I can think to look, an old building being torn down, the beach, wherever there is old wood I’ll take a look at it,” he said.
Using green building practices and recycling materials are very important to the craftsman and his business. Additionally, he is a member of 1% for the Planet, a global network of businesses that donate 1 percent of their profits to environmental groups worldwide.
“The green aspect is also a big thing,” he said. “I use a lot of reclaimed woods and my shop practices revolve around minimal waste. I use all natural finishes, no chemical smell, no chemicals in general. I use water based stains which are healthier and cleaner not only for the environment but for the people living with it.”
The wood Mr. Abramson gets out of old buildings has some of the best character and qualities to it, the craftsman said. It is that aspect that gives his work a personal and artistic touch.
“White oak and walnut, I’m really a fan of white oak. I think it’s a great wood for furniture, it’s solid and has some weight to it and it has a lot of character,” he said. “I love working with the reclaimed boards that have cuts and nail holes, some of the stuff you pull out of a building has 100-plus years of wear and tear on it and it looks great basically.”
To inquire about purchasing Ethan Abramson furniture visit ethanabramson.com. To view his work in person visit Neoteric Fine Art, 208 Main Street in Amagansett.