Like most artists, Anthony Piazza’s artistic aptitude manifested in childhood, sketching out his creations, and then scavenging about for scrap lumber and rusty nails to turn his visions into reality. He learned early on that sometimes those visions work out great, and sometimes they don’t. When his creations failed, he would dissect the projects, figuring out what didn’t work so that he could make it better the next time. Those exercises in success and failure would eventually define Anthony’s problem-solving approach to everything he did in life.
However, like many childhood artists, his career path took him elsewhere—into one of the most challenging and dangerous professions; commercial hard-hat diving. Anthony spent many years in the deep, dark, freezing depths of the world’s oceans, solving complex undersea construction problems that required mechanical aptitude, physical strength and discipline—it was grueling, tedious work, but it fine-tuned the problem-solving skills that Anthony developed as a young boy.
In 2012, Anthony and his wife decided to spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives in Seattle, and hopped the ferry to Bainbridge Island. It was love at first sight, and the beginning of a new adventure, a new home, and a new career. In 2013, after settling into island life, he took advantage of his rotating dive schedule (a month on and a month off), and officially opened his part-time business, Essays In Wood, making custom cabinetry, furniture, and art pieces. As his business grew, he decided to retire from diving and devote all his time to the fine art of woodworking—in 2017, Essays In Wood became Bainbridge Island Woodworks.
Anthony’s process—whether it be the need for custom cabinetry, or custom furniture pieces— is interactive and collaborative. The first step is to meet at the location of the project and listen, learn, and understand what the client would like to accomplish. From there, he returns to his studio to begin the design process, creating detailed drawings for the client to review and fine-tune, utilizing his problem-solving skills to perfect the final project design. Once the project is launched, Anthony and his team provide their clients with regular photo updates of the project process and encourages them to stop by the studio and see the project development first hand.
Regardless of how complex or simple your project is, Anthony and his team are well versed in utilizing several types of woods, such as Cherry and Black Walnut, as well as stone and metals to create additional architectural detailing and customization.
“My goal is to connect with my clients, listen to your needs and provide thoughtful, useful solutions and then transform those solutions into a reality that will be a service to you for years to come.”
Interacting and collaborating with his clients is only one aspect of island life that Anthony enjoys—he also appreciates the comradeship of our small island community; working with local builders and contractors to help each other out with equipment, skills, and sourcing unusual materials, as well as working with local businesses to create custom signs, promotional items, and promotional displays.
Outside of custom cabinetry, general contracting and remodeling work, Anthony and his shopkeeper, Lori Swanson, create a variety of beautifully crafted furniture pieces, Japanese lanterns, cutting boards, Christmas ornaments, and décor items—their soon-to-be-released “Home Sweet Home” sign is a favorite of mine (whimsical magnetic pieces can be interchanged to celebrate the current season, or you can order customized pieces to suit your personalized décor).
Another favorite, are their Valentine’s Day ornaments, which can be customized with two names and a short message, they’re available now, so grab one for your sweetheart!
You can find Bainbridge Island Woodworks’ creations at Millstream, located on Winslow Way; the Bainbridge Island Farmers Market, which runs from April to December; their Etsy store; and Bay Hay & Feed.
*Images provided by Bainbridge Island Woodworks and Margaret Millmore