The Craftsman: Gary Green

When I was a young boy, some of my favorite times were working with my grandfather in his shop. The things we made were not masterpieces but I loved them. All were made of wood—wood that was shaped with sharp tools, wood that had a wonderful smell and feel. And there was a completed product about which I could say, “I made that.”

Summers, during high school and college I worked in a wooden-box factory and in a paper-mill wood yard. My interest in wood and my love of this material grew.

As an undergraduate, I studied architecture. My master’s thesis focused on the changing techniques of wood frame construction as influenced by increased demand and better materials.

My career in real estate development was diverse. I managed the construction of high rise office buildings, residential condominiums, office parks, a ski area and a golf course. Despite the fact that many heads and hands were involved in these projects, each allowed me to feel, “I built that”, much as building wooden items with my grandfather had made me feel.

During my years as a real estate developer, I dreamed about a time when I could focus on building things in a shop of my own. I read Fine Woodworking, visited museums and attended antique shows to study pieces made by American craftsmen in 18th and 19th centuries and collected antique wood-working tools.

gary-hopeIn the early ‘90’s I was able to follow my dream. I enrolled in the North Bennet Street School in Boston for a two year education in furniture making. I enjoyed every minute of those two years. My life experiences and interests, coupled with wonderful instruction, allowed me to explore and practice the art and craft of creating fine furniture.

In the years since I graduated from the North Bennet Street School in 1996, I have completed nearly 200 pieces of furniture. Each piece is an adventure for me; each piece is unique. When I complete a piece, there is still the child-like sense of pride and satisfaction that I get when I stand back and say, “I built that”.