Art Carpenter (1920 - 2006)
Art Carpenter was a nationally acclaimed master of innovative furniture making and a beloved resident of Bolinas for fifty years. Fine Woodworking Magazine described Art Carpenter as “…a pivotal figure in woodworking whose original work helped inspire the sculptural style of West Coast furniture design.” This Wishbone Chair was one of Carpenter’s signature designs, combining sensual simplicity of line, beauty of the wood, overlapping joinery, and comfortable functionality. He selected this particular chair as his gift to the museum and community.
Carpenter had a degree in economics from Dartmouth University but was self-taught as a woodworker. He and a small group of fellow luminaries, including George Nakashima, led a renaissance in furniture making as an art form. Under his studio name Espenet, Carpenter’s work has been exhibited and collected in museums nationally, and the Smithsonian Institute.
In the 1950s, Carpenter and his family moved to Bolinas permanently. Youthful interest in fine crafts led Carpenter to work with enthusiastic young apprentices. Inspired by Carpenter, woodworker Tom D’Onofrio established the Baulines Crafts Guild. The guild drew international attention and hundreds of apprentices to learn from fine craft masters. Carpenter helped nurture the guild into a statewide organization.