"My desire to create something of quality and outstanding craftsmanship is intrinsic to who I am. Practical functionality mixed with a sense of grace, balance, and beauty are the end goal of the majority of my pieces."
Joel Hoffmann is one dedicated surfer.
Consider this: As a kid, most weekends started at 4 AM to hit the waves with his Dad. In art class, classmates howled over his wood carving of a surfer with the legend "Hang Ten" at the bottom. (“Looking back, it surely must have been my classmates ignorance on the matter”, Joel says with a smile.)
On days when he was “REALLY starved for waves”, he would grab a bodyboard, tie a rope to a tree... adjacent to a raging river... and lower himself into a standing wave.
As the father of two now concedes, “Maybe not the smartest idea, but it was fun!”
So what beach rat kid isn't born to surf, right? Right, except Joel didn’t come of age shredding the waves of Santa Barbara. Or Maui, Malibu, or any other oceanside hotspot for that matter.
~ Santa Barbara, California ~
"The idea of creating a piece of art or furniture that might outlive me and generations to come can pass on is pretty cool. I love the social aspect of being an artist; the collaboration, sharing business ideas, watching creative ideas and new products evolve in the social arena."
A surf mecca it is not.
No, Joel grew up in the 3,358 strong – decidedly landlocked – rural hamlet of Lancaster, New Hampshire. “Surfers were a rare breed in those parts", Joel says. Living 300 miles north of the nearest surf spot will do that to you.
Prior to moving west in 2000, Joel earned his first degree in Fine Furniture Making & Design from the School for American Crafts at the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology. He then went on to attend Boston's acclaimed North Bennet Street School where he further honed his skills in the art of fine furniture making and exceptional craftsmanship.
Whether it's architectural installations or kitchen accessories, Joel's favorite part of the building process is formulating the idea and the concept.
"I love the place where dreams meet application."
A firm believer in exposing raw beauty that may otherwise be overlooked, he avidly repurposes wood whenever possible. Case in point: a recent haul from Stanford University. Upon hearing that scores of unused bunk-bed boards were headed for the buzz saw, Joel hit the road to Silicon Valley... and wangled his way into the entire lot.
So to (re)answer our original question: what do you get when you put a fine furniture maker together with a passion for surfing and culinary excellence? The most cool, smile-inducing serving/cutting boards around.