Eli Cleveland Custom Furniture
Originally from Atlanta, GA, I studied mathematics at the University of Georgia. In my final semester, with a future in insurance on the horizon, I found myself spending increasing time building in my apartment-turned-workshop. In 2007, I applied to the renowned North Bennet Street School (www.nbss.edu) in Boston, MA. Though wait-listed, I moved to Boston that spring to pursue furniture making as a career. I immediately enrolled in Continuing Education courses at the school to gain some fundamental knowledge. At the end of that summer, I was accepted to begin the full time Cabinet and Furniture Making program.
NBSS served as my graduate school. The scope and intensity of study was largely left to the individual student, so I took full advantage. I worked with instructors to plot the most efficient use of my time in the shop. Meanwhile, I travelled around New England on class trips to professional shops, museums, and historical sites. The result was a 2 year immersion in traditional furniture techniques, designs, and ideas, all of which provide a strong foundation for approaching any style work.
Since graduating from NBSS, I have pursued a few different avenues. Primarily, I create custom furniture for clients. I really enjoy the challenge each new piece offers and the satisfaction of providing a client with exactly what they need. Currently, I do this work out of a co-op in Charlestown, MA with a number of woodworkers of various passions and styles. Additionally, I spent five years working behind the scenes on the television show Rough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac, airing on PBS. Finally, I stay involved with North Bennet Street School by teaching part-time in the full-time and continuing-education departments.
My unique path has given me a unique perspective. North Bennet Street School provided me not only core knowledge for making furniture, but also a systematic approach which I can apply to any work. Teaching at NBSS keeps me mentally sharp on the fundamentals. My work with Rough Cut has condensed years of experience into 5 seasons. For just the show, I've built over 60 different pieces, 3 to 4 times each. This exposed me to a number of new techniques and gave me a depth of understanding that custom work rarely affords. In all my work, I seek to continue learning not just about woodworking techniques, but also trends in furniture styles.
I'm not sure how to wrap up my story. I suppose a "Thank you" is in order for reaching the end...or perhaps a "Congratulations." Either way, if you have any questions about any of my work, or would like to meet me, see my shop, or just chat, feel free to contact me HERE.
P.S. I love snow!