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Arthur Espenet Carpenter II (1920-2006) was a master woodworker and furniture maker known for his wishbone chair and desk with scalloped seashell sides. Self-taught, he joined the Baulines Craft Guild in the 1970's and through this program he taught about 250 apprentices inspiring a whole new generation of studio furniture makers. His work is in the collection of the Smithsonian InstitutionMuseum of Modern Art and Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Oakland Museum, and LACMA in Los Angeles just to name a few. He was declared a “living California treasure” in 1984. He received The Furniture Society's Award of Distinction in 2001. He also documented his projects and wrote a book called Education of a Woodsmith which his son, Tripp Carpenter, and Linda Moore published after his passing.

Also I would like to recommend the movie on Vimeo: Woodsmith: The Life and Times of Arthur Espenet Carpenter



Arthur Espenet Carpenter, born New York City 1920-died Bolinas, CA 2006

Exhibition Label

This graceful structure by Arthur Espenet Carpenter comprises fourteen curved, interlocking steps radiating around a center post. As Carpenter intended, the intrinsic warmth of the wood and the organic forms encourage interaction along multiple fronts, including movement up and down the steps and pushing and pulling the propeller-like treads. It is a staircase for imagining: the spiral steps mimic curved forms of nature, pushing against the grain of right angles and square rooms.

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, 2022

Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of David L. Davies and Jack Weeden



By Arthur Espenet Carpenter

"Arthur Espenet Carpenter, my father, was one of the most original, creative designers of contemporary 20th century furniture. His pieces are on display throughout the country, from the Oakland Museum in California to the Yale University Museum. Here are just a few of his spectacular pieces. Please check out my father's book, Education of a Woodsmith."

-- Tripp Carpenter

Education of a Woodsmith Espenet Furniture

This is my father's book. Twenty years in the making,160 pages of color photos and a well-written text describing his evolution of becoming a designer and maker of exceptionally well-crafted and extremely handsome furniture. This book is a must for any woodworker or designer.


Please note: The book is SOLD OUT! Contact me to be  notified of the next publication: 

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