Table maker, Alison Reyes

I was born to a family of artists and spent my early twenties immersed in small-scale metal art while pursuing a career as a pastry chef. In my thirties, I was able to dive into some remodeling for my home and business taking the opportunity to change every inch of space and transform it to my own expression. Exercising unconstrained creativity is my happy place, which brought me, eventually, to woodworking. 

I have since reinvented and birthed many tables and enjoy taking an artist approach to their creation. I find that my process is to work backwards from the desired result and then figure out how to do it and by what means. The transition from table loving artist to a table-making artist was as predictable as it was surprising for me. 

I am a recovering pastry chef, and other than food as art, there have been years of metalworking, design, abstract painting… I explore new avenues with wild abandon it seems…

I found myself looking to wood as a medium I have yet to explore and this opens me up to a new way of doing things, sometimes simply because I don’t know the tried and true approach and the result is as exciting as the journey.

I work on many pieces at one time but not for efficiency, just as part of my process. It could be years to complete one piece and the result and growth of each table over time cannot be rushed. After my first table sale, the customer cried she was so happy for her purchase. This has happened on three occasions now and I bring this up because it is imprinted on me as a joy that dissipates any frustration that may have occurred between myself and the wood. When I am handing over something I have (in most cases) spent years in process, thinking, planning, collaborating, building, changing, evolving and the time finally comes to say, “it is ready”, only one person will be able to make the choice to take it from my life and have it in theirs. 

This exploration has taken me over and I don’t feel I have a choice but to keep on this journey. Who needs a day job when Life is art?

I am a proud and active member of the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers.