Will Holman is a Designer, Craftsman, and Author living here in Baltimore. His book, “Guerilla Furniture Design” showcases 35 inexpensive projects that can be made from salvaged and recycled materials. You can visit his website here and see a portion of his work on instructables. Visit the Baltimore store this Friday, June 5th from 6-8 to get his book and have it signed by him.
What is “guerilla” furniture design, and what is the mindset behind it?
Most people think “guerilla” is a military term, but it is really political — someone or something that stands in opposition to the dominant political culture. I use it because I think design and construction are useful means for pushing back against the tidal wave of overconsumption, waste, and consumer passivity that characterize American culture today.
What events and experiences have led you to this point in life?
I graduated with an architecture degree in 2007, right into the first rumblings of the Great Recession. Instead of getting a traditional architecture job (then in short supply), I took a series of jobs for design-based nonprofits that involved architecture, woodworking, carpentry, and teaching. Over the eight years since I’ve graduated, I’ve lived in rural Arizona, rural Alabama, Chicago, and now back in Baltimore, near where I grew up.
Tell us about your involvement with the community in Baltimore. What are recent ways that people in Baltimore have adopted this “guerilla” mindset in their own lifestyles? What are some good places in the city for people to find materials and tools to get started?
In my day job, I work for the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation, a non-profit development company that brings safe, affordable, and sustainable space to Baltimore’s creatives. We are working on a large makerspace in the Station North Arts District, to open in 2016. As part of that work, I’ve been helping organize a group called the Industrial Arts Collective, which is a coalition of makers, artists, designers, craftspeople, small businesses, and nonprofits. We are trying to build an inclusive, diverse maker culture in Baltimore, and include groups like the Station North Tool Library, which is a great spot to learn basic woodworking in a welcoming environment.
What were some of your very first projects/designs? What have been your most recent? Do you have any personal favorites that you’re particularly fond of?
Some of my first pieces, now lost to history, were cardboard chairs for my freshman design studio. Most recently, I’ve been experimenting with open source design, releasing CAD files on a site called Open Desk so you can download and cut your own version on a CNC router.