FLEAKIN' OUT WITH SHIGOURI WOODWORKING

Nick Shigouri broke from the comfort of his former lifestyle to test his own limits and build his version of better life's work—as a result, Shigouri Woodworking was born. His studies with master woodworkers in Vermont pushed him into a passion for carpentry artistry, yielding brilliantly-designed furniture and home goods made here in Denver. 

Words by Sam Alviani // Photos by Rachel Adams

What does YOUR WORK mean to you?

 

 

 

Shigouri Woodworking is the fulfillment of a dream to completely change everything about my formerly comfortable, yet boringly-predictable lifestyle. I had done everything expected of me: got my undergraduate degree, then my masters; I got a corporate job in banking, made good career strides, won some awards, bought a house, had a closet of suits—but never felt quite right. I came to the realization that maybe the comfortable lifestyle was not for me. I decided to go for broke and 'burn the ships.' I Quit my banking job, rented out my house, and began studies with master woodworkers in the northern Green Mountains of Vermont. It's been a 360 degree change for me, but so satisfying. It was the right choice.

 

 

QUICK FACT #1

Master-crafted housewares.   

QUICK FACT #2

 Artistry, forged from native wood. 

QUICK FACT #3

Brought to you from a RiNo studio.  

OF ALL YOUR TIME WOODWORKING, HAS THERE BEEN ONE PIECE THAT POSED THE GREATEST CHALLENGE?

Each piece I create poses new challenges.  What is the perfect pitch for a chair back?  How can I artistically interpret a specific grain pattern in a particular piece of walnut, without giving up the wood's integrity? It's all about the art of the wood itself which takes decades, maybe centuries, to develop. It's a complete reflection of its environment; color from minerals in the soil, knots where branches once were, themselves molded by the wind.  For me, the thrill comes when someone encounters one of my pieces for the first time, and can't resist running their hand across the wood and whispering  "beautiful." I feel that I have done the tree a service by giving it a new life.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST PIECE YOU EVER MADE?

The first piece I had ever made was a bed and headboard out of oak barn wood taken from a tobacco barn in Northwestern Missouri. I tried hard to preserve the look and feel of the thick planks, which had been in cut form since before the Civil War.

 

HOW DID YOUR WOODWORKING STUDIES INFORM YOUR WORK?

I had been crafting from wood for as long as I can remember, making things from driftwood pulled from the creek near where I grew up. I started from using whatever I could find, having the piece itself dictate what it would become. This thought is primary in every piece I produce now.

Any SPECIFIC TYPE OF WOOD OR MATERIALS YOU FIND YOURSELF GOING BACK TO?

My wood of choice is American Walnut, although it is becoming increasingly difficult to locate.

 

 

I came to the realization that maybe the comfortable lifestyle wasn’t for me. I decided to go for broke and ‘burn the ships.’
— Nick Shigouri

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