Garry Bennett’s Un-Trestle Table
Unconventional design is a portrait of the man
Synopsis: Garry Bennett has built many versions of his trestle table in materials ranging from wood to steel and aluminum, and together they offer a window into the furniture maker’s fearlessness and imagination. They also show how an artist, once he or she finds a fruitful design, shakes it and works it over until every possibility has tumbled out. Bennett came at the trestle form the same way he came at the craft of woodworking, by ignoring its rules and standing it on its head. He traded in the usual thick top for a paper-thin one, setting it on a massive base. The result is an artist’s playground, with curves and joinery that invite interpretation.
From Fine Woodworking #219
Watch how Garry Knox Bennet’s Trestle Table came together in this video blog series.
Garry Bennett has a few complaints. One is people using his middle name, Knox, which stuck somehow despite his best efforts. Another is people who know him only for his “Nail Cabinet,” a fine case piece with a nail driven into it, which appeared on the back cover of FWW #24 and drew a small avalanche of letters, both pro and con. All I could get out of him on the subject was, “I planned to make a precious thing less precious.”
But what he seems most concerned about is the shrinking numbers of fellow studio furniture makers, those who attempt to make art and work purely on spec. “My kind of guys are dying off,” he says. To understand how Bennett has avoided commissions and been left alone to follow his muse, you have to know his story. Trained at California College of Arts and Crafts from 1958 to 1962, he worked as a sculptor, painter, and jewelry maker through the ’60s and ’70s. In…