A “born puzzler,” Anneliese King has always been drawn to design work that involves putting intricate pieces together. She loves the improvisational problem-solving nature of woodworking, she says.
King has also spent the last 10 years fitting together the pieces of her woodworking career — one in which, she notes, it’s not as easy for women to find their place as it is for men.
She started in fine furniture making, then house remodeling and set design, not quite getting comfortable in a single direction, but, with each experiment, moving closer to carving out her own profession. “I felt a little bit like an imposter,” she says, talking about what it was like to often be the lone woman on a job site. “There would be an assumption at the beginning that I didn’t have the skills,” she said. “I developed a harsh exterior, which is counter to who I am.”
Last spring, a pandemic-inspired sojourn sharing Erik Hamnquist’s Truro workshop allowed King to soften her edges and get back to who she is, King says. She started up her own carpentry business, Kingdustries, where she takes on custom work ranging from bar tap handles to toys to tables — work that allows her the freedom to improvise.
Now King is back home in Philadelphia, where she is also sharing studio space. The arrangement helps solve one problem faced by would-be small-scale woodworkers: the cost of the tools necessary to do the work. But for King, sharing has also meant the chance to share ideas, knowledge, and camaraderie.
Her work is a “labor of love,” King says. She starts each piece from an unmilled slab, running raw lumber through jointer, planer, and table saw before it begins to take shape as cutting board, box, or shelf.
King’s stationery boxes, pictured here, were inspired by her mother’s love of writing cards and letters. They hold note paper and include a well for a favorite writing instrument and a spot for a roll of stamps. A batch of 10 boxes take about a week to make, she says.
The improvisational element in this case is the copper inlay on top. King has experimented with everything from Miracle-Gro to mustard to patinate the metal. She’s enjoying the unpredictable-yet-familiar results: “Each piece grows its own pattern. Just like wood.”
King’s work can be seen on Instagram @kingdustries_studio.