“Congratulations on your well-deserved Award of Excellence in Wood at the St. Paul show! In a field of talented artists, your work truly stood out for your masterful combination of tradition and the unexpected.”
― American Craft Council
2019 Award of Excellence in Wood ― ACC Saint Paul Show
“We selected this artist as best in show because of the obvious love and respect for the medium we champion and celebrate: wood. Craig Johnson’s work emphasizes the beauty and integrity of natural materials, each piece reveals his mastery of craft and understanding of the unique properties of each species he uses. His descriptive texts, booth images, and, truly, his very way of being in the booth reflects his affinity for this incredible material.”
― American Association of Woodturners
“Craig designed and constructed an accent table for us. What a pleasure it is to work with Craig, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the finished table. It is a work of art that fits the space beautifully. The clean lines and subtle curves are just what we were looking for. We always point out the special design touches that Craig incorporated in the table and the reactions are always the same…”Wow, where did you get this table?” From start to finish, Craig’s artistry and pride in fine craftsmanship are evident for all to see.”
"I love the gentle curves. Especially the legs, Swedish & Oriental influence in design. Very eye-pleasing. Looks comfortable, too. Thank you for sharing."
— Marilyn E.
"It strikes me, a highly impatient person, how patience, persistence, and requiring perfection pay off with a chair that not only invites us to sit, but seduces the eye to study and admire its grace. Thanks for the lesson."
"Pieces like yours bring function, form, texture and the realness of wood together — the whole is so much more than the sum of the parts — color, light, shadow, sculpture. What a gift you have & give."
"Your reverence for the wood you select and work with evokes silent appreciation for the natural & created results of your artistry. Thank you."
— Dick Dahl
"Your work is exciting in that you continue to see things that are not initially apparent. Much admired."
— Geoff & Corrine Bateman
"Working with Craig designing my George Nakishima inspired black walnut desk was akin to a meditative journey with a zen master. Craig lead me through from concept design through completion with the skills of a master craftsman and patience of a saint. Craig was able to turn my nebulous idea into a piece of art. He kept me informed and involved every step of the way. And, the project was finished as originally budgeted. I can only hope that the work that I get done on my desk is as inspired as the desk! It will be a family heirloom for many years to come."
— Louise M. Segreto
"Craig, your chairs are beautiful! Superb design and craftsmanship as well as attention to detail."
— Doug D.
"I saw Craig's presentation and his two chairs at a MN Woodworkers Guild meeting in March, 2013. I have never seen such finesse, such a high degree of difficulty in furniture design and construction, carried out so well. I am amazed."
— Ronald Corradin
"Craig's work is true ART — the longer one spends in the presence of it — the deeper is the appreciation!!"
"This chair is a work of art —
a pure piece of pleasure!
"It is beautiful to look at,
its balance is music
"The weave on the seat
makes one feel safe
"But the best of all —
the very very best of all is...
"How it feels in the
palm of your hand!"
"The wood is no longer growing in soil, but the Jeffersonian Book Stand is growing a story that will continue for generations." ― Client
In recognition of the piece's first anniversary, the client further comments on its meaning:
"The Story Begins...
"The confluence of function, form, history, and ancestry in a single heirloom is a rare gift. An initial request for a hand-crafted addition to my library grew unexpectedly into a treasure for generations.
"The Jeffersonian Book Stand is an early 18th Century multitasking research tool holding up to five open books simultaneously.
"Craig applied his skill and pulled from function, a work of art. I hear the verse from Simon & Garfunkel's 1968 song Scarborough Fair:
...without a seam or fine, needle work...
"The song references a cambric shirt and like soft cloth, the finished wood is as pleasing to the touch. His artistry lead fingertips to deny the seams visible to the eye.
"The history invoked is the intellectual traditions of Jefferson's Life of the Mind made more accessible with the Book Stand's unique function.
"The piece is reminiscent of a genealogical tree. The adjustable shelves are branches; and the books, leaves. I have two family branches from the early 1500s in England. With names and locations as an anchor I can hold one finger on England, and with a quarter-turn of the globe, mark the location in North America near Lake Superior and remark,
While Robert Wright with Mary Green in Essex and Thomas Greswold with Alice Parker in Warwickshire were all children, 4000 miles away a yellow birch emerged from the soil of an old growth forest.
"Every time I see my Folio Ambo I notice its base and recall ancestors from the trunk of my family tree.
"My expectations were surpassed by Craig's artistry. I am most pleased by the Jeffersonian book stand, its beauty, soft touch, and the associations growing from its heartwood."
Transcript of Judge's recorded comment from the 2012 Northern Woods Exhibition:
"Twelve thirty-six, Serenity. I could not have picked a better title for this piece. Every square inch of it is beautifully considered: the figure; the way the panels in the front swell and move aside for these inlaid doussie end-grain squares; the way they are expressed with reveals all the way around; the different sizes of the squares and the disposition of them is, to my eye, really musical. I like the quartered figure used in the frame, the very quiet little indent that gives you access to it and the way it opens, and the way the back panel responds to the asymmetry of the front with a similar offset layout. Very delicate, very beautifully done in every one of its details; a piece that I would have been really proud to build myself."
― Judge #2
" 'Simple' at it's finest. Sometimes complexities take away from a beautiful design. The lines were amazingly crafted! Thanks."
"As a woodworker, I found Craig's attention to detail fantastic ― the most exquisite finishing work."
"Phenominal detail + patience. Great skill + hand detailing. Love the concealed door latches + hand-crafted hinges. Wonderful."
Transcribed judge's comment from the 2010 Northern Woods Exhibition:
"I was lucky enough to come across this just when I was finishing judging and immediately knew I had seen the Best in Show. Flawless design, flawless execution; this is of the highest quality. The lip on the top is recognized more so by only furniture makers, but that's an extremely important detail and executed with perfection. How the design grows out of the veneers to the hardwood, to the top, is perfection itself. Was very, very, very excited to come across this piece and it's been a pleasure being able to look through it and work on it. I could make up something that I thought was wrong, but that wouldn't be... that'd be disingenuous. It is a model of restrained perfection. Everything pulls together and it wouldn't mean anything except without the absolutely perfect fabrication. This is as nice as it gets and like I said, it's an honor and a pleasure being able to see this piece. Very, very well done."
― Judge #3
Transcribed judge's comment from the 2010 Northern Woods Exhibition:
"Oh, this is a showstopper. I mean, it's clearly my favorite of all the pieces here. Beautifully restrained, beautiful design, execution exquisite, first class cabinetry. I mean, I can't stop with the superlatives. Very, very, very nice."
― Judge #1