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Joseph and Katie Thompson

Designers and Makers of Joseph Thompson Woodworks

In their studio in South Carolina

Primary design concentration:

Wood furniture, decor, and installations

Most preferred tools for designing:

Pencil and paper (whatever we can get our hands on)

Wall-hanging piece “We Grow”

How and why did you choose to become a designer?

Katie: I am not sure I had a choice, really. My father woodworks as a hobby, and I was really inspired by eating at a table he built growing up. My imagination would always start to run when I’d see him working on a project, and that was the first real signal I had that design was a great path for me.

Joseph: I fell in love with woodworking first, which naturally led to designing my own pieces.

What are some of the challenges you encounter as a designer and how do you deal with them?

Katie: The biggest challenge for any designer is balance. Balancing your own inspirations and styles to merge seamlessly with superior function. It’s an enthralling challenge and provides an absolute thrill when you succeed.

Joseph: Multitasking.

What is your definition of an “elegant solution,” that is, good design?

Katie: Something that not only looks good, but functions so well that you could take it for granted.

Joseph: Good design exists when there is a strong marriage of form and function.

Seat “The Perch”

From skills to values, what makes a designer successful?

Katie: Again, I believe it is all about balance. Everything changes all the time and that includes design. I think it’s more about recognizing and embracing areas of your work (and yourself) that need improvement, are sufficient, or are exceptional, and working to make all of the intricate aspects of design work harmoniously together.

Joseph: I think you can be considered successful by having one person have a positive interaction with your design.

How do you stay motivated and grow personally and professionally as a designer?

Katie: It’s the victories—even the little ones—that keep you going. A good day in the shop or a kind compliment from a total stranger can have the same effect.

Joseph: For me, it is just wanting to do better, to improve every time.

For those aspiring to become a designer, whatever the discipline, what is your advice?

Katie: Stay true to yourself. Your passion won’t just show in your work, it will define it.

Joseph: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

What is your quest in design, from a professional practice, education or evolution standpoint?

Katie: My current quest is to design home furnishings that are timeless and also encourage the return of a focus on superior quality craftsmanship, materials, and user experience.

Joseph: I will never think of myself as a master of my craft. I want to keep learning and improving everyday. And keep doing what I am doing for a living.

Joseph and Katie Thompson are the combined force behind Joseph Thompson Woodworks in South Carolina. They make “bespoke, heirloom quality furniture and home decor using traditional woodworking techniques and responsibly harvested fine hardwoods.” Their sources of inspiration include Frida Kahlo and a clear head.

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Congrats to you guys! You are both such talented inspiring people living the dream! All the success to you both!

By Gabrielle Egan on March 5, 2013

Congratulations to two gifted and talented artists. Hmmm - "a strong marriage of form and function"..who is the form and who is the function? Love all of your work!

By Tracy on March 26, 2013

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