June 2022 – Shayn Smith opened a design and build company in 2014, in a northern suburb of Detroit, MI. He specialized in marquetry using lasers to create parts and pieces for the designs and has since partnered with Jeff Smith (unrelated) to expand the company into SmithMade. The company still specializes in marquetry and also provides veneered products like wall panels, door panels, and flooring panels.
Rewind a bit, and you’ll find Shayn at the twelve-week Furniture Intensive in 2009. He says that at that point in his life, he wanted to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of design and construction, and how to approach the craft as a professional instead of hobbyist. He ending up learning a myriad of ways to efficiently build a piece of furniture as well as picking up varying ideas and methods of woodworking. For example, he says, “I only worked with solid wood prior to coming to CFC, I thought that was the best way. Brian Reid was a big inspiration on introducing me to marquetry and parquetry. I learned a lot about veneering while I was there. That is now what I specialize in and what I love the most about the craft.”
The design and the process are what brings Shayn joy in his current work. The construction of a piece of furniture, he says, is just a small part of what goes into creating his products. SmithMade uses patterns, textures, color pallete, form, and a mixed media of materials from leather, stone, shell, resins, metals, and wood. Shayn reveals, “I’m constantly experimenting with new things, and a large part of that is because of the experience I had at CFC. The staff and alumni there are always pushing the boundaries of what can be done. I hope that I fit into that category now and create inspiration for new students and hobbyists who share the same passions for making things that I do.”