At Moran Woodworked Furniture we are committed to honoring the natural beauty of wood through traditional craftsmanship, the use of exclusively sustainable wood and a modern approach to design. We—Michael Moran and Celia Gibson—design and build each unique object one piece at a time, cutting every joint, chisel in hand, in our Hudson Valley, New York, home and workshop.
From standing tree to finished furniture, our vision relies on an immersive, hands on participation through each considered part of the process. Our bespoke and limited edition furniture begins with the material we choose to work with: sustainable wood. Our wood tells a story, and its history—where it stood and why it came down—is written in its grain and marks an obligation for us to use it thoughtfully and to share each unique story. We know exactly where every single piece of wood in our workshop has come from, where it grew.
A collaboration is at work: natural characteristics, idiosyncrasies of individual boards drive our design decisions just as our designs inform the wood we consider for a project. We intend that each functional, custom work of art is a composition brought to life by the judicious selection and placement of sustainable wood. This collaboration assures longevity by employing time-tested joinery meant to last generations, offering a flexibly over time in changing conditions. We hope our compositions reflect a sense of timelessness seen through a modern lens.
We hope sincerely to do justice to trees and their beauty as they are met with the modern world.
MATERIALS: WHERE OUR WOOD COMES FROM
Our wood comes with a story. This is expressed though a history of growth written in its grain and our relationship with each tree’s origin. Every log or board is from a unique circumstance; we travel across the foothills of Appalachia or just across the street in order to exclusively use wood that fits into our responsible wood ideology. We use storm downed trees. We salvage recycled boards and work with family run mills where sustainability and ecological soundness are essential values. Through select tree removal services, we are able to divert logs destined for firewood or the landfill. Ultimately, our relationships with friends, family, clients and our greater community allow us to immerse ourselves in this responsible wood ideology.
We know where each piece of wood in our workshop comes from and the story behind every tree.
From start to finish, we are directly involved with the cutting, milling and drying process. Cut to our specifications, when we work with logs we are able to reduce the waste often incurred while milling. Additionally, this attention means we have every wide board stacked in the order in which it grew—a series of bookmatches that inspire much of our work. After being cut, our wood air dries for anywhere from three months to two years to keep the boards as stable as possible before they make their way into a wood kiln to reduce the moisture content down to a suitable level for furniture making.
PROCESS: HOW WE BUILD
We design and build furniture that is made to last, from one generation to the next. Michael’s traditional Japanese tools—chisels, saws and planes—hand-cut joints to keep nails and screws an infrequent addition to the solid wood construction. Wood is a living, changing material; this must be taken into consideration for the longevity of the piece. Consequently, our joints are chosen primarily for their structural integrity, but we also consider their inherent aesthetic value. Whether hand-carving a seat or setting a butterfly joint, comfort, beauty and strength are our intentions. Our techniques ensure an enduring, functional work of art.
Michael builds every piece by hand, one at a time, entirely in our Hudson Valley workshop.
Furniture is both an aesthetic object and one that must fulfill its function, so the finishes we use reflect beauty and durability equally, without compromising a consciousness towards our environment. We believe the natural beauty of wood is best displayed without the application of stains. Layer by layer, day after day, we hand rub our clear Tung oil finishes into the wood. For our charred furniture, we apply several clear coats of a water based, zero VOC finish. Our finishes preserve the natural color, luminance and touch of the wood grain. They provide a strong, low maintenance, ring-free and environmentally friendly surface.
MICHAEL & CELIA
In 2004, with little more than a vision and a few clients willing to take a gamble on a very young craftsman, Michael Moran opened his custom furniture workshop in Charleston, South Carolina- a city he had already called home as college student and athlete, coach and woodworking apprentice. That community encouraged, supported and allowed for the evolution of his work and, gratefully, still does to this day. In 2010, after years in London working in arts publishing for museums, including the Tate, and then completing her Master’s degree at University College London, Celia joined Michael in life and in business back in Charleston.
With the cold, woodsy smell of winter in their daydreams, the couple moved to the countryside of New York’s Hudson River Valley in 2014, where Michael has built their workshop on the 15 acres he and Celia call home. Drawing inspiration from this place, these woods and this community, they now design and build their furniture and sculpture at the edge of the woodland in the company of their rescued companions: a pair of greyhounds and a siamese cat. Michael, when not in the workshop, is, in all probability, cycling, winter surfing, making music or at work on the long-term restoration of their 1930s home. Certainly, Celia is reading with a cat on her lap, their warm kitchen with something simmering on the stove just a few feet away.