Trade Stories: Matt Pierce of Wood & Faulk

Trade Stories: Wood&Faulk
Photos courtesy of Wood&Faulk.

Matt Pierce is a modern day jack of all trades.  Born in Kansas, the tinkerer’s interests in carpentry and mechanics were honed through interactions with close friends and family.  Eight years ago, Matt gathered the gumption to uproot, leave Kansas, and relocate to Portland, Oregon.  Currently, he runs a blog entitled Wood&Faulk and carries a line of his own craftsman goods.

What was inspiration behind Wood&Faulk?
It was based in everything that I learned growing up in Kansas.  The name comes from Woodrow and Faulkner, which are two streets on which I had previously lived.  I learned so much at that time working on house projects and building furniture and everything involved with having old houses.

How did you get started in leather craft?  What was the first piece you remember creating?
I’d tried some simple projects about 15 years ago, but the real spark for Wood&Faulk was the belt project.  I made a tiny run of belts in natural leather for people to wear-in and document how the process went.  After doing that, the requests kept coming in, so I started making belts for sale.

What brought you out to the Northwest and Portland from Kansas?
I was –and still am– just in awe of the climate, the forest and the landscape in Oregon.  It’s 1000 times different than Kansas.  I’m still shocked to see a mountain in the distance at any time here.

Where do you find inspiration?
Music, being outside, reading, taking naps… Just about anywhere.

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Are you an outdoorsman?  What do you do and where do you go?
I’d call myself a recreational outdoorsman.  I have a canoe that I love to take out, love to camp and hike, but I never get super crazy about the weight of gear or the high-tech aspects.  It’s more about getting out and relaxing.  If it’s cold or rainy, I’ll hike in my Filson Tin Cruiser.

What’s your biggest project right now, and what’s involved?
Outside of work, it’s remodeling my torn up kitchen.  I hope to post more about that on the blog soon, but I’m deciding how much I want to tear out.  Maybe I’m trying to not think about that…

What is your biggest weakness? And biggest strength?
Biggest weakness has typically been taking on too many projects and not saying ‘no.’  I’ve gotten a lot better, mainly out of necessity now that the business is getting more hectic.  Biggest strength is figuring out how things work, although that usually involves buying more tools, so maybe it’s a weakness?

What is one thing you’d love to learn to do?
I just bought a recurve bow and I’d love to get better at my aim!

What artists do you look up to?
Charles and Ray Eames, Ralph Lauren, Keith Richards, Ai Weiwei.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
My Dad taught me how to shake hands properly and tell direction, if that’s considered advice.

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