Artisan Spotlight: Garett Miles
Craftsman Garett Miles creates stunning trays and cheese boards.
At Abbreviated Design, our curated collection of home goods features products from local artisans. We couldn’t think of a better way to launch this part of our shop than with local woodworker, Garett Miles. For the past ten years, Garett has worked as craftsman at Via Design creating custom furniture and products.
We sat down with Garett to discuss his work, his experience, and the details behind the serving trays and cheeseboards we are excited to showcase at Abbreviated Design!
How do you know what you know? What is your experience?
Woodworking has always been a hobby of mine. It goes back to when I was little and watching my dad. I actually went to school to be a secondary English teacher. I graduated in 2000 when the market was terrible. Woodworking and running were my solace and got me out of that stressful headspace.
I started looking for some jobs and stumbled across the Via Design posting. I started over a summer without knowing if it would last, or if I would go back to teaching. I basically became a paid apprentice for David Tuck, of Tuck Studio. We started with the basics. I sharpened a lot of tools that summer.
Where is your shop?
It’s located at my house. When I first started with Via, we - David and I - had a workshop down the street that was for sale for the entire ten years we worked out of it. When it finally sold, I converted my detached four-stall garage into my shop. It’s nice to be able to work from home, but I have two curious little boys who are very interested in what I do. There’s going to be a lot of locks set up in the next few years.
What types of materials do you work with?
A lot of various woods. It’s been fun to see the wood trends throughout the years. A while back it was cherry and mahogany. Now it’s oak and walnut. There’s a lot you can do with wood, but some strains are more fun to work with than others. I’ve worked with metals and we’ve made some metal hardware over the years. Eventually, I would like to learn to weld.
What type of products have you made?
I’ve a made a lot of desks and tables. Usually a client will have something in mind that they’ve seen or have something they need modified. Most of these are custom pieces. End tables, bar cabinets, some built-ins, mantels, and surrounds. We’ve made some metal hardware too.
Is there a unique project or product that sticks out to you?
I made a wall sculpture for a client. It was 9ft tall and incredibly light. We made it from foam and fiberglass. David worked in Maui for several years and built sail boards the entire time, so he knew the process well. We actually use it a lot in woodworking, which is unique. There’s a certain amount of flexibility you gain when you use it.
Are there products you hope to create in the future?
There are always projects I want to accomplish. Personally, I plan to create a wood console that will fit my record player and all of my records. I like creating unique end-tables with live edges and finding interesting bases.
Do you have any inspirations? Is there a person or project that has inspired you?
My dad would be my first inspiration. He was an aircraft mechanic. On the weekends, when I was young, I would help him with whatever project he was working on. In my mind, he could fix anything. I learned a lot just watching him work.
In the profession, my inspiration would be George Nakashima. He did a lot of live edge work. He had some interesting designs. His books are fascinating to look at. He had a natural sense of design.
What materials do you work with when you make cheeseboards and serving boards?
I started making those because we would have cool pieces of figured wood that sometimes weren’t good for anything else, or they were an off-cut piece from another job. If it were any other piece of wood, you’d toss it aside. A lot of them are never the same twice. They’re usually small pieces. I always have a pile that I think, “that would be a good serving board.”
What would you like a customer to know about your products, specifically the artisanal cheese boards we have at Abbreviated Design?
I always make something as if I were making it for myself. It takes a little longer, but I don’t cut corners, and these products aren’t mass produced. The serving trays and cheese boards are fabricated from figured pieces of wood, usually up-cycled. Each one is unique and different from the last.