Today we’re sitting down with John Eric Byers, the furniture designer behind Jeb Jones. Jeb Jones is an environmentally conscious company that creates furniture distinguished by simple geometric forms, traditional construction methods, hand-tooled surfaces and hand finishing. Based in upstate New York, the designs are influenced by the four seasons and the surrounding countryside. Without further ado, meet John!
Jeb Jones Spools (Short)
What was the first piece of furniture you ever made?
I made a ladder back chair in high school shop. Gave it to my Mom of course.
What has your career path been; what led you into designing furniture?
I always had a desire to work with my hands and with wood. When I discovered the furniture of Wendell Castle I was hooked. I was very fortunate that he had a small school of which I attended for 2 years and then went out on my own.
Jeb Jones Stacking Drawers Dresser
What is your philosophy when approaching the design of a new piece?
Excitement and anxiousness.. I get this kind of buzz.
What inspires you? What do you do to overcome a creative block?
Honestly, I have never had a creative block. But the best cure to indecision is to stay disciplined and make a decision and hope for the best.
Please tell us a bit about the sustainable aspects of your practice and products.
At the onset I wanted JEB JONES to represent sustainability and enduring quality. We use only FSC select hardwoods and VOC-free environmentally safe opaque and clear coat finishes. Our costs are higher but I refuse to cheap out on the environment . When you purchase one of our pieces, you can feel proud that you are doing right by your planet. And you can feel that way for a lifetime because our pieces will last a lifetime and our warranty supports that.
Can you tell us a quick story about three of your designs and how they came to be?
Most of my designs start as quick thumbnail doodles, I never do working drawings. I often have a few designs being made at the same time and then I begin to see variations on the pieces as they come to life.
The idea of emphasizing the interior space of the Open Form Tables led me to to extend that interior consideration and attention to detail to all the open pieces in the collection.
What’s your workspace like? How do your surroundings in upstate New York influence you work?
My private studio is short 30 foot commute from my 1860s farm house which makes it easy to go to the studio every day. I think the simplicity of my lifestyle in the country has contributed to the simplicity of my design forms . The four seasons certainly has influenced my color palette.
Thanks so much to John for sitting down with us today! Here are more of his designs.
Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!