When Eain Tierney was 10 years old, he made his first lamp. It was simple, just a spiral-shaped piece of wood, a wire, and a fixture, but it was a preview of his future life as a rustic furniture maker.
The real inspiration to work with wood came when Eain was eight and his dad brought him to the Rustic Furniture Fair in Blue Mountain Lake. All it took was that one trip amongst the Adirondack-styled furnishings, and Eain’s destiny was laid out before him like so many log-fashioned furnishings.
“In my mind, there was nothing cooler than that,” Eain said. “It gave me an appreciation for the natural beauty of wood and what it has to offer.”
Eain has been a professional woodworker for four years and he is now the owner of Tierney Adirondack Rustic Design. He learned a lot from his dad, who is more of a nuts-and-bolts, make-things-square-and-plumb style of carpenter. Functionality and quality are important, but Eain likes to put a different spin on his creations.
“With my furniture, I want you to walk up to it and say, ‘Wow, this is a cool piece of wood and oh, it’s a lamp or a chair or whatever,’” Eain said. “I want you to see the wood first and the function second.”
Part artist, part philosopher, Eain marks the passage of time in revelations. One of the most groundbreaking lessons came from his graphic designer friend, Ryan, who suggested creating pieces based on how he wants the viewer to feel when they see it instead of focusing on making the finished product look cool.
One look around Eain’s workshop, and his philosophy becomes clear. A lineup of gnarled pieces of stump with pointy-tipped octopus arms sits atop a pile of neatly stacked boards. There are rough-cut planks with threadlike black fungus etchings scrawled across them, and irregularly shaped branches lean against milled boards. Each piece of wood is unique, after all, and it’s that inherent personality that gives Eain’s finished pieces their artistic flair — eclectic texture, colors, and patterns that go against conventional norms.
Working with wood is a symbolic relationship, one in which the material sometimes inspires the project, while other times the project inspires the pieces used.
“I have pieces of wood that I’d held on to for eight or nine years, simply because I haven’t come up with anything good enough to make out of it,” Eain said. “The wood is so good, I haven’t thought of a way to use it that properly shows it off.”
When it finally does all come together, the end result is something to admire. In Eain’s workshop, there’s a farmhouse-style table with three long boards making up the top. The outside planks are stained dark, the middle plank looks like it was split from a log and it is lighter colored and raised to highlight its uniqueness and provide a great place to put serving dishes. The edges of the table are an eye-popping dark red, the legs are a graceful swoop, like a treble clef.
Near the table is a kinetic desk, an Eain Tierney original. Some wood grain has a holographic effect when viewed from different angles, a phenomenon called chatoyance. To see chatoyance in action the viewer must move from side-to-side, and the weird, 3D-topographic effect presents itself. Eain wanted to bring that effect to a stationary viewer. His solution: a sort of quilt made of geometric-shaped pieces of tiger maple that undulates at the push of a button, giving the whole thing a shimmering depth that really must be seen to be fully appreciated. The chatoyance quilt hangs off the front of the desk, beneath a wooden paper tray that’s carved and stained like an abstract painting.
“This is the only piece of furniture like this in the world,” Eain said. “Nobody else is doing kinetic furniture that’s based on a principle of wood.”
Eain’s workshop contains other beautiful oddities scattered throughout. Hollowed-out logs standing on end are lighted from within, their dark-red insides emitting a volcanic glow. There’s a smokey glass bar with randomly shaped branches crisscrossing across the front, above a bed of small white stones. Coffee tables sport jet-black logs; tables have white suspension-bridge-like cables stretched across them. It’s all art, really, a true display of art-meets-function. But to Eain, it’s all about the wood.
“i just want people to think wood is as cool as I think it is. That’s my main goal with all of this,” Eain said.
Eain’s work can be found in stores around the Adirondacks. Country Florist & Gifts and Fox and Fern in Ticonderoga, and the Pinecone Mercantile in Schroon Lake.
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