I’m Daniel DeKoven, Furniture designer and maker in Evergreen, Colorado.
This is our dog Luke, the one-eyed English Lab, who came to us courtesy of Lab Rescue.
When I look for inspiration, the first place that I go is inside my head. I’ve been designing and building things for decades. So I have a veritable fund of past experiences, designs, and influences. I draw upon those, and I look upon my place in the universe, to see what’s happening now, where I am, where my head is and I combine those to create something that speaks to the present. The second place I look is to my wife Margaret. She’s a printmaker with a wonderful aesthetic. I’m constantly dragging her out to the shop to look at things I’m working on, to get her view of my composition and proportion.
I trust her judgment implicitly. We are a team.
A Major Design influence in my life has been George Nakashima, a Japanese American architect and furniture maker who was building organic furniture in the late 40s when everything else was Formica and chrome. His book, The Soul of the Tree, has a greater influence on the way I look at furniture, wood, and design.
The person who’s probably had the biggest effect on my business is Thomas Moser, a furniture manufacturer in Maine. Early in my career, I took a seminar from him at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass. The subject was running a woodworking business. It had nothing to do with creative, and everything to do with the nuts and bolts of keeping a business running. I came away with three points.
This first was the necessity to develop an identity, something that was recognizable as mine. Be it a piece or a collection, something people would look at and say, “That’s a DeKoven. I recognize that.” He said if I was creating reproductions, I was selling my hands.
The second major point: he said, and this is before the internet, it was essential to come up with a print catalog, something tangible people could take away, and look back on to remember me by.
The third thing he said was that however many hours I was spending working on furniture, I needed to have someone else doing all the correlative activities: taxes, accounting, marketing, etc. I farm those out to people I trust, and their efforts have given me the freedom to create. And that’s what it’s all about.