Tripp Carpenter runs Espenet Furniture (in Bolinas, CA). He has worked with wood since he was six years old. His father, Art Carpenter (the creator of West Coast style of sculptural furniture), passed on his self-taught knowledge to his son. In addition to dreaming up his own functional and artistic woodworking pieces, Tripp continues to produce editions of his father’s famous designs.
I grew up in and around the furniture trade for most of my life. I think I must have spent thirty years off and on turning wood in the back of my father's shop watching apprentices come and go and observing all the different ideas and designs being made and talked about.
I never thought that I would make furniture for a living. I saw it as mostly very hard work with little return. It was not until I was 50, two years before my father passed away, that I actually considered trying to make it as furniture maker. I was teaching high school art in San Francisco when my father called me one day to see if I could finish a drop leaf table for a client. I did finish it and saw that there were more orders to fill.
It was at this time when a son realizes family duties. I was with father until he passed two years later in 2006 leaving me with a mess of good wood and a shop full of tools situated on the Bolinas Lagoon.
Even though I grew up in the shop and on the lagoon, I could not see letting it go. I knew it was not a secure job by any means but then again what is really. I just said to myself, " believe in yourself, you can do it" . It has been 14 years now and I am still saying this to myself.