Gregory Kirby earned a bachelors degree in Business Administration from St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin. During college he studied abroad at the University of Waikato, in Hamilton, New Zealand.
After completion of his bachelors degree, Gregory apprenticed at the Bauhaus Apprenticeship Institute in Forest Park, Illinois. While there he received instruction on the craftsmanship essential for building Studio Art Furniture. His instruction also included traditional joinery techniques as well as design and building skills.
Upon completion of his apprenticeship, Gregory and his family opened the Kowata Tree Woodshop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has many satisfied clients as his skills and shop capacity have steadily grown. Gregory is available to design and create unique, custom furniture.
The portfolio page features some of the categories of hardwood furniture he specializes in, but is not limited to.
News and Events
From M Magazine, January 2008
By LAURIE ARENDT
Every time Gregory Kirby builds a piece of fine furniture, he does more than merge fine art with fine craftsmanship. "It’s not just furniture for me nor is it just art," he says. "When people buy my pieces, they’re really buying a piece of who I am." And that’s just fine with the growing number of clients who have discovered Gregory Marcus Kirby Furniture.
"I’ve always enjoyed woodworking as a hobby," he says. "My father had a shop in his basement and when I was in middle school, I would take my school projects home and finish them after school."
Though he eschewed shop classes in high school, he kept up his hobby and continued it through college, where he majored in business administration.
"I’d always intended on becoming a home builder, but I wanted to keep my options open," he says. "As it turned out, I decided that maybe it was time to turn my hobby into a full-time career."
After a yearlong apprenticeship at the Bauhaus Apprentice-ship Institute in Forest Park, Ill., Kirby returned home to Milwaukee and started crafting his own furniture.
While he admits to drawing inspiration from respected furniture makers Sam Maloof and George Nakashima, Kirby feels his work is evolving into his own art form.
"I don’t remake other people’s furniture," he notes. "I think my work is evolving and I’m establishing my own signature elements."
For example, Kirby approaches each piece with the belief that furniture can have dual uses over time. He finishes each piece so that it can be used in multiple ways and viewed from different angles.
His more recent work has incorporated floating tenons, which not only provide visual interest and shadow, but also allow for the natural expansion of the wood.
Kirby works strictly in hardwoods, primarily in those found in Wisconsin. He also enjoys incorporating more exotic woods into his work.
"It’s really a collaborative process for me with the wood," he says. "Sometimes, the wood dictates how large a piece can be, but more than that, the wood often is part of the creative process in how I use it and how the piece itself evolves."
Gregory Marcus Kirby Furniture opportunities are found exclusively at the Kowata Tree Shop in Milwaukee and online at www.gregorykirby.com.