“Where do I sit? Where do I eat? Where do I store this? Furniture, at its most basic level, is a solution to everyday problems. And within the answers lie opportunities to create objects whose beauty and grace enrich our daily lives. Beauty, utility, and comfort are not mutually exclusive. I love the challenge of balancing the aesthetic and practical aspects of each piece I design and build. Many argue that form follows function. However, I believe that form and function are equally important, that they must act together to create a whole.”
“To say that I chose furniture making as a career is not quite accurate. It chose me. One of the clearest memories I have is cutting a piece of wood for the very first time. In reality I was not making anything terribly exciting – a shipping crate for a painting. I felt this nervous excitement as the saw blade sank into the two by four. Despite my best efforts, a concept that had been hammered into me during my parochial school education – that each of us has a calling – had eluded me. But in those few seconds, it instantaneously shifted into reality. And my life came into focus in a way I never expected.”
While attending Bowdoin College, Leslie fell in love with art and making things. Yet it was while working as a nanny in Maine that she was first introduced to woodworking. One morning at breakfast, perusing a furniture catalog, she commented that it would be great to build beautiful things that were still functional. Robert, the father of the family, said that he didn’t know how to build fine furniture. He did have basic carpentry skills, though, and offered to teach her what he knew. An artist himself, Leslie began working in Robert’s studio a couple afternoons a week, building shipping crates for his paintings. From the very first time she cut a piece of wood, she knew she had found her calling.
Leslie soon enrolled in and completed the Nine Month Comprehensive Course at the renowned Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. During her time at the Center, she gained a solid technical foundation and began developing her own aesthetic. Continuing her education, she attended the Crafts and Design Program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. While at Sheridan, Leslie relentlessly challenged her design sense and technical knowledge. Recognition and awards quickly followed, including the prestigious Niche Student Awards. During a summer break, she had the opportunity to apprentice with legendary furniture maker Michael Fortune, an experience she considers invaluable to her success today.
Upon graduation, Leslie moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and opened her own business. She joined the Stenton Guild, a co-op in Germantown. She soon began being juried into distinguished shows, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, ICFF, and the Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Her works have been published in both books and magazines, and her creations reside in homes from New England to southern California. Moving closer to her roots, Leslie returned to Texas in 2009.
In November 2019, Leslie started a second company, Heartwood Tools. You can find out more about it here.
Learn more at www.lesliewebbdesign.com/