Upcycled guitar scraps are transformed into Mid Century Modern-inspired clocks, music stands and art pieces by a talented luthier.
Where most only see castaway wood scraps, luthier Eric Blackwell sees MCM clocks, music stands, and art pieces. “I’m a guitar maker,” Eric says. “Guitars are made from fine, high-end woods and, one day, I decided I wanted to make something from the pieces we would throw away.” As he was thinking of different ways to use the scraps, he came across an intriguing piece at a swap meet.
It was a wooden Mid Mod style clock, and he was instantly taken by its minimalistic design. “I realized that the leftover pieces from my guitar builds were perfect for Mid Century Modern art. It really was a situation where the materials and their shapes fit the style,” he says. Hence, Blackwell Woodworks, located in Los Angeles, California, was born.
A Unique Path from Guitar Scraps to MCM
Guitars were the unique path that led Eric to woodworking. As a teen, he began working at a guitar factory in Newbury Park, California—and has worked at the company for the past 20 years. It was there that he learned the fine art of guitar building and acquired a skillset that overlaps into other avenues of woodworking. “I was surrounded by a lot of talented guys, and that’s where I got my training,” Eric says. “I’ve taken what I learned from building guitars and have been able to apply those techniques in unique ways.”
Eric was inspired to begin his own business in 2018 after seeing the reactions of friends and family when he made them retro-inspired pieces as gifts from the upcycled wood from the guitar factory. “I was having a blast, and so I began to put my pieces on Etsy. It grew from there, and I’m excited it’s gotten so big,” Eric says. He’s now expanded and has a thriving online shop where Mid Century Modern aficionados snatch up his one-of-a-kind pieces.
Eric’s style merges vibrant personality with high-quality woodworking, captured in both skill and materials. “Guitars are made from the finest woods, so the scraps I use for my clocks, stands and art are as well,” Eric says. Figured maple, mahogany, walnut and rosewood find their way into his creations, where they are showcased in all their beauty and given unique life under Eric’s expertise.
“I do things completely differently than a traditional designer might,” Eric says. “I’m unorthodox in my methods, so it gives my pieces their own look.” He loves coming up with designs that emphasize the fun side of MCM style, and works with a partner, Sarah Gencarelli, for some of his artwork. He’s eager to collaborate with artists and welcomes other creatives to contact him to work together. At the end of the day, he’s happy that his work has found its best expression in the vintage style. “I’m a guitar guy who’s fallen in love with Mid Century Modern design,” he says. “I’m really enjoying it.”
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