Pete Baxter Woodworks
(guest artist with Sarah Noggle)
Shaker oval boxes, carriers and chairs
Pete Baxter’s interest in Shaker furniture started in undergraduate school with an elective course on Shaker life, and their focus on usefulness and simplicity.
Now a self-taught first-generation woodworker, Pete creates oval boxes and chairs made in the Shaker style.
“I am drawn to the timeless appeal, clean lines, practicality and usefulness of the pieces,” he says.
While the designs belong to the Shakers, Pete’s interpretations of them are one-of-a-kind.
“It is impossible to exactly replicate a box or chair,” Pete explains. “Therefore, each piece is authentically Shaker and the finished work is uniquely original.”
A one-person shop, Pete does everything, from prepping his oval boxes by hand, hand carving swallowtail joints, bending and tacking box bands, as well as using rotary planes to make chair legs, seat rails and stretchers.
Pete is inspired by finding new and modern adaptations for traditional Shaker pieces, especially finding new uses for the oval boxes.
“I bring my creative skills to interpreting particular woods and grains to express a visual warmness and excellence,” he explains. “Excellence with the Shaker traditions and designs improves slightly with each new piece I make.”
Each finished piece has a purpose, a particular wood, grain pattern, workmanship and, consequently, an original look.
Pete’s newest work is a Brother Michael’s Chair – a Shaker inspired writing arm chair.
“I’ve often wondered how a Shaker version of a writing arm chair would look,” he says, “so I set about crafting a piece with homage to the principles of Shaker chairs with modifications.”
The finished chair has a copper tray that swivels from beneath the seat, woven in traditional colorful Shaker chair tapes, ideal for holding note cards and writing instruments.
This chair, as well as Pete’s Shaker boxes and various other pieces, will be on display at Sarah Noggle’s weaving studio during the month of October for the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour.