“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris
This philosophy, extolled by one of the pioneers in the Arts and Crafts movement, is at the core of my designs. I create furniture that is artful and functional. It is meant to be used and enjoyed. The Arts and Crafts aesthetic finds its way into many of my designs, and each piece is current and relevant to our modern-day lifestyle. Michael Heffernan
Michael lives and works in the Philadelphia suburb of Flourtown, PA. He designs and builds custom furniture for his clients, focusing on each client’s individual space, needs, and aesthetic.
A self-taught artisan, he started in the 80’s working construction after college, building houses, moving on to finish carpentry and eventually tinkering with custom furniture. After a stint as an actor in NYC, Michael officially began his woodworking career in Albuquerque, NM in 1991, where he designed and brought new products to market for a small woodshop. He moved back east in 1993, where he continued to produce his custom designs in New Paltz, NY.
In 1995, Michael moved to Philadelphia and expanded his talents to included designs in copper, helping to establish an atelier in Turkey that produced his collaborative designs for Material Culture. During his tenure with Material Culture, Michael traveled the globe as a principal buyer of antique vernacular furniture, art, and artifacts from China, Turkey, India, Africa, Bali, Pakistan, and Romania. He also was principal designer/developer of custom furniture product lines, using architectural elements, salvaged lumber and decorative objects from the various countries. He assisted in establishing workshops in China and India and instructed the woodworkers there on modern restoration techniques.
Michael left Material Culture in 2008 to establish MDH Woodworking. All of his work is handcrafted, using traditional joinery techniques and hand-rubbed finishes. Sourcing lumber mostly from local suppliers, he chooses each live edge flitch and select hardwoods with the finished piece in mind.
Michael’s work can be seen at local Philadelphia shows, most recently the Philadelphia Furniture Invitational, The Highlands Craft Show, The Ambler Arts Festival, and the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival.
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