Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes

About The Artist

Thomas Hughes • Portland, OR
Mixed Media

"Making" has always been part of my identity, and I'd be lost without it. My hope is that I can combine my love of folk art with engineering, woodworking, and metalworking skills to create objects people will be proud to grace their homes with. Carefully crafted, one at a time, these pieces are my joy and passion. Western softwoods and Milk Paint are the primary materials of my work and are combined with machined metal parts that assist in helping the kinetics run smoothly.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

The things I make start with wood. Wood is shaped, sawn, and carved into most of the components. Sometimes leaving the grain natural looks best, other times I add coloration with the matte finish of traditional Milk Paint. Machined brass bushings, pulls, and other highlights are used where wood isn't quite up to the task. All of the craftwork is done in my studio.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Wood is/was a living thing that commands respect and care. Each piece of wood has its own personality that one gets acquainted with during Making, and your interactions are a conversation with the wood. You work, time passes, and you realize this particular piece of material has told you a lot about itself.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

One thing I really enjoy including in my work are hidden surprises behind doors and curtains, or in boxes and drawers. Sometimes they are figurative carvings, and quite often they turn out to be small spaces to store keepsakes. Part of the dialog can be a mechanism that must be activated to reach those surprises.