Brian Rayner has worked in wood as a furniture maker and designer for more than 25 years, most recently in Charlottesville, Virginia, and previously in the Mt. Jackson area of the Shenandoah Valley. His work is heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, including the Mission-style work of the Stickley brothers. He is further influenced by the simple and austere visuals of the Art Deco and Modern eras of furniture design. He style is rounded out by organic pieces — which he calls “Hobbit” furniture — inspired by George Nakashima; these pieces have live-edge perimeters, non-rectilinear tops, and carved degraded tree-trunk bases.
Brian uses lumber mainly from a sustainably managed parcel owned by a friend and former Virginia Forestry Service employee on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.
In recent years, Brian has embraced sculpture as part of his woodworking practice. Early pieces were primarily assemblages using uniquely shaped wood pieces with stone or metal bases. He admires the work of Constantin Brancusi and Barbara Hepworth. Many recent sculptures are attempts to emulate these artists’ ability to create simplistic, pure forms. His facial busts continue to evolve in complexity as he seeks to create sculpture that communicates a universal anima.
WOODWORKING + SCULPTURE