Michael Cullen

Petaluma , CA
Michael Cullen

Michael Cullen, trained by English furniture maker David Powell, is part of a woodworking lineage that stretches back to Edward and Sidney Barnsley and the era of English Arts and Crafts. Cullen frequently trains apprentices in his shop in Petaluma, Calif. With 30 years in the craft, his work ranges from delicate dovetailed boxes that fit in your hand to monolithic sculptural pieces that are best lifted with a crane. Most important woodworking lesson? “To sharpen correctly. There’s only one kind of sharp, and that’s very sharp.”


Cullen's range as a designer is extremely broad. His work ranges from exquisitely detailed and elegantly veneered formal furniture to monolithic pieces hewn from giant hunks of wood. In between are many pieces patterned with distinctive surface carvings and colored with milk paint. Cullen also builds what he calls fantasy pieces, which can range from whimsical furniture to pure sculpture. Whichever mode he happens to be working in, Cullen produces pieces displaying sound proportions, intriguing textures, and superb craftsmanship.

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