This month’s artisan: Brian Rayner, furniture maker

Photo: John Robinson Photo: John Robinson

A regular on both the craft show circuit and local farmer’s markets—look for him at both the Nelson and Charlottesville City markets—Brian Rayner is a multifaceted artisan, creating both furniture and sculpture. If you want to see him in his native environment, find him on the Artisan Studio Tour. Check out or call him at 295-7042.

Courtesy Brian Rayner.

What kinds of objects do you make?
I design and construct wood tables and chairs that are inspired by the work and words of both C.R. Mackintosh and George Nakashima. I also create wood sculpture for both home interiors and garden spaces.

Describe the style of your work in five words or less.
Furniture, sculpture, embodying nature’s symmetry.

Briefly, how did you become a furniture maker?
In an attempt to practice “right livelihood,” I began in the early ‘80s to sell handcrafts at Eastern Market in Washington, D.C. My early role in this endeavor was to repair, refinish and sell antique and used furniture. This led to making wall mirrors, table tops for metal sewing machine bases, and then coffee tables. Soon I was taking custom orders for dining room tables, chairs and dressers using sustainably harvested hardwoods from the Shenandoah Valley. I’ve now streamlined my inventory choices to primarily console, coffee and small altar/end tables and nature-inspired wooden sculptural pieces that include wall hanging 2D pieces, hand shaped lidded vessels, abstract sculptures and free-standing cedar garden figures.

What’s your favorite piece you’ve made in the last year?
The three-legged slanted, sloping cherry chair: an engineering feat, and sittable.