Xylos Gallery Tour

I imagine that a lot of you fine furniture fans out there have never seen Xylos Gallery in Minneapolis, MN. Maybe you live too far away, or maybe you just haven't gotten around to it. Whatever the case, I thought it was about time I gave you an online tour. I captured the following images while tending the gallery last Saturday.

It's a small gallery of fine woodwork that was formed by woodworkers looking for an effective way to bring their furniture pieces to market. We each have a separate woodworking business, but we've come together to share this retail space. It's an inspiring place that gives us great opportunities to meet new clients. I've even met a number of folks who stop in several times each year to see what's new. We have about a dozen members in the Xylos cooperative who exhibit here, and we also have a number of artists representing other craft disciplines who offer their work through Xylos on consignment. You'll always find a nice mix of large and small pieces, from large, finely made cabinets to sweetly carved wooden spoons. In the image below, you can see my Building a Mystery buffet cabinet... and way behind it to the left is my new Entry Hall Mirror with Flanking Key Cabinets.


The variety of fine furniture found within these gallery walls is what amazes me. From refined contemporary to ornately carved traditional pieces. Pristine as well as highly textured surfaces are represented. Finishes that let the wood be wood, and uniquely colored pieces like the bench below by one of our longtime members, Richard Helgeson.


We also have a good number of accessory items. Mostly consigned, but also some that are designed and made by our member artists.


If you were looking closely at the first image above you got a peak at this next piece by Mark Laub. Mark is a fellow member of the local Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, and is the kind woodworker who encouraged me to join Xylos. I joined in July of 2010 and have just begun my second year. Anyway, isn't this piece something else? There is seemingly no end to the details and surprises that Mark elegantly crafts into all the nooks and crannies of his furniture. As you scan the piece, there is no question about who is the maker. Fun, inspiring work.


Just a few feet down the wall from Mark's piece are the somewhat more calm lines of my Entry Hall Mirror with Flanking Key Cabinets. Although appearing very simple due to its overall form, it was actually a respectable challenge to make. I hope you can stop in to see this piece. It's really difficult to take photos that truly show its nuances.

It's kind of interesting to observe how people in the gallery are drawn to a piece as it calls to them from across the room. In my first year at Xylos, I've learned that in a busy retail space, the larger, more flamboyant pieces are the first to attract attention. So, when I bring in a calm, reserved piece that will be a delightful focal point in a home setting, I know that in the gallery it will need a little bit of help to stand out in the crowd! Something as little as opening the drawers a bit allows the contrasting wood and carved pull of the drawers to catch the eye... and the bird's-eye maple drawer bottoms are always a hit.


We even have a talented carver, Patrick Baillargeon, who has a strong affinity toward more traditional pieces. I didn't capture it in these photos, but he found some centuries-old clock works that he has incorporated into this beautiful new clock.


Whether one prefers traditional or more contemporary furniture design, there's plenty of room to appreciate these details. Seeing every tool mark and how the light bounces off of these hand carved surfaces is just amazing.


Hey, here's some more of those accessories. Jewelry boxes, serving trays, and cutting boards for the kitchen.


One of my favorite consignment pieces is this repp weave wall hanging by local handweaver, Kelly Marshall, of Custom Woven Interiors. Kelly and her team of handweavers do an outstanding job. For Xylos, their work provides a colorful backdrop for our furniture. But we shouldn't forget, Kelly's pieces are available for purchase at Xylos, too!


From the north of Wisconsin, comes the sculpted and textured work of Peter Wright. This floor lamp shapes the light with the curved surfaces of the stand as well as the grain lines in the thin veneer of the lamp shade.


The extremely solid joinery of this natural edge bench by Greg Wood provides comfort as you sit and explore the shapes and colors of this popular piece.


This was just a quick look into the gallery. So, I'm afraid I didn't get to show you work by all of the member artists. I figure I better leave some for you to discover for yourself when you stop in for a visit. And remember, the items on display change regularly throughout the year. If you haven't stepped into Xylos Gallery for a few months, I hope you will come again soon.

The Xylos partners plan to have a show of new work later this fall, so stay tuned... there'll soon be more to explore!