I am mostly the product of an exceptional high school woodshop program of the 1960's and a strong blue color work ethic. Added to this is a B.S. in Industrial Arts in 1976 from Millersville State College followed by postgraduate study in fine art at West Chester State. The raw material of what I am made of is an irrepressible drive to engage myself in creative activities. I am very much a "jack of all trades" and find an interest in a wide variety of materials and processes. However, I believe myself to only be a master of one trade and that is woodworking. Holding all of this together is the true mortar of my life, my wife Linda, who has enabled me and encouraged my endeavors every step of the way.
Learn more about myself and the foundation of Lohr Woodworking Studio on the history page.
My work embraces the turn of the last century’s Arts and Crafts movement except I don’t much care for what is typically defined as “Mission Furniture”. It often takes the form of painfully boxy looking casework and seating pieces looking like second cousins to an electric chair. What I’ve done in my own work is soften the harshness of the typical hard edge of traditional Mission style furniture and dispense with the notion that the style be executed in quartersawn white oak and/or mahogany. My color pallet for my work is naturally finished Pennsylvania black walnut, figured black cherry, and sometimes figured maple or brown oak. All of this material, if selected carefully, can be among the richest and deepest figured woods in the world. I spend an inordinate amount of time tracking down the best of these domestic species and I think it definitely shows in my work. The first comment from most folks that see my furniture is how breathtakingly beautiful they find the wood. I'll always give Mother Nature the credit for this, but it is no accident that the wood itself is the tour de force in my work. If you look through our Live Edge Furniture Gallery, you will see I'm moving much more into natural forms that pay much heavier homage to the living tree from which all wood comes. This new work marries in part, the unique arts and crafts flavor of which I am widely known but is considerably more contemporary. Regardless, I believe my furniture designs to be attractive, comfortable, and often clever, but what gives my Arts and Crafts designs and my newest free form pieces their uncommon appeal is my passion for figure in wood and how I use it in composition. For example, if I want to visually loft a portion of a given design, I select straight, tight grained material for the dominant vertical members of the piece. Likewise, I will use random grained material to compress areas that I want to visually shorten. Finally, and most importantly, the large field areas of a work will showcase the most beautiful natural figure I am able to reveal.
Because wood is a natural material, there is a huge diversity in the quality of any given species of wood. The most beautifully figured grades are hard to come by, difficult to work, and require such care in their match-up with adjacent boards that many furniture manufacturers actually choose to avoid them. The curious nature of highly figured material makes it the enemy of the assembly line due to it's inconsistent limited supply and it's often problematic working characteristics. However, to a studio furniture maker like myself, exquisite dramatically figured wood is indispensable and is the material of choice. In addition to the strength of form in my designs, my selection and thoughtful use of figure is what will always set my work apart from anything manufactured.
The main source of inspiration for my work are the Greene brothers and Frank Lloyd Wright but I have no desire to reproduce or replicate their work. I prefer to produce my own new designs using these past greats as inspiration. What I usually come up with are designs that I like to call “High Style Arts & Crafts”.