Gale-Force Designer: Matthew Steckley

Steckley creates furniture from salvaged driftwood.

| July/August 2007

  • The clean lines of the School Chair ($3,200) and the Floor Lamp (with 26-inch drum shade: $1,150) reflect the quiet elegance of nature.
    Photo By Robert Klemm
  • Matthew Steckley creates heirloom-quality works from reclaimed wood in his Miami workshop. “I try to apply my talents wisely to enhance the beauty of nature,” he says.
    Photo By Robert Klemm
  • Inspired by the architecture of bridges, the Arches Writing Desk ($7,000) is cleverly crafted from salvaged Bischofia wood. “I knew if I could incorporate two continuous arch supports rather than four independent legs, there’d be no need for cross supports underneath to buttress the legs,” Steckley says.
    Photo By Peter Harholt
  • The simple arc of the Bowing Desk Lamp echoes the waves Steckley loves. The lamp ($795) utilizes energy-saving LED bulb technology.
    Photo By Peter Harholt
  • The three-legged Infinity Stool, made from West Indian rosewood ($3,200), reflects the mathematical sign for infinity: a sideways figure eight.
    Photo By Robert Klemm
  • Steckley uses his trademark curves and tripod design for this Floor Lamp with an Internal Shade, done in wild tamarind (5 feet high: $1,150).
    Photo By Robert Klemm

Miami woodworker Matthew Steckley reincarnates hurricane-downed trees and salvaged driftwood into fabulous furniture.

His “Eureka!” moment: Inspired by driftwood and the waves during a surf trip in Baja California, Mexico, Matthew Steckley formulated plans for a furniture-design business with environmental sensitivity. This year, the self-taught artisan celebrates his 10th anniversary building chairs, tables and accessories that have earned him design awards.

Downed but not out: Many of Steckley’s pieces are crafted from trees that fell during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Other timbers include victims of Dutch elm disease and recovered driftwood from ships off the Miami coast, which he collects while surfing. Steckley often chooses naturally downed Cuban mahogany, a mainstay along Miami roadways, for his creations. “The grain and color are beautiful and only get better with time,” he says.

Going into labor: Steckley’s designs are labor intensive—you won’t find a nail or screw anywhere. He opts, instead, for demanding mortise-and-tenon or dovetail joinery. A single stool can take 8 to 10 days to hand-sculpt and polish.

When furniture comes to life: The moment a piece truly lives is just after the first coat of all-natural oil finish is applied. “It’s now separate from its origin, yet it displays beautiful elements from the source wood,” Steckley says. “Add to that the results of several hands working their experiences into the design, and a special piece is realized.”

Surf it yourself:

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds