G Morgan Designs is a local furniture designer located in Atlantic Beach. At G Morgan Designs, owner Greg Morgan creates unique, one-of-a-kind furniture pieces using unusual materials that are not typically found in your average coffee table, such as live-edge wood, resin, glass, metal, copper or anything else he can find. In order to spotlight Greg’s uniqueness and creative process, Void sat down for the following quick Q&A session:
Void: Hi Greg! Briefly describe what G Morgan Designs is in your own words and how it all got started.
Greg: It all got started during a trip with my wife, Laura, coming back from Gainesville. We went by a place called “Tom’s Cypress,” which is a huge wood place, and since we didn’t have that much going on, Laura suggested that I buy some wood and try to make some stuff. I was just thinking, “Well, what the heck am I going to make?” I bought some stuff and started playing around with it. After making and making all this stuff, I looked in the garage … It was full. I had no idea how to get rid of it, sell it or have people see it. There was an arts and crafts show across from our house in Ponte Vedra Beach. I decided to give it a shot, and it turned out that people really liked the stuff I was making. G Morgan Designs itself is just my view on furniture. It’s functional art, but I want to make it last a lifetime, make it something to be passed on. It was always my goal to make artwork, but to make something that people always have a use for.
Tell me a little bit more about the unique materials you incorporate into your designs.
As I got more into it, I wanted to take it further and further with design, because I thought there was a thousand other guys out there building your basic furniture. I started buying a lot of pecky cypress — pecky cypress itself is a water wood where the thick natural current and bugs have made really cool holes in the wood, but if you have a dining room or coffee table, you can’t have a tabletop with a big hole in it. I didn’t want to fill the holes with wood putty; I just thought that was so boring. That’s when I began really experimenting with the resin and coloring the resin.
Do you need inspiration for a piece or does it come naturally to you?
It actually comes naturally to me. The whole “Ocean Series” and “Ebb and Flow Series” came from me being inspired on a flight back from Hopetown with Laura and I flying over the water and seeing the depths of the water change. I thought if I could incorporate this look into furniture, then that would be a phenomenal thing. That flight over was a godsend, because I was looking for a different path — I was looking for something. There was inspiration in seeing that, but I really already had it in my mind that I wanted to push colored resin. I thought it was an untapped source for incorporating it into wood unlike concrete, metals and other materials I’ve used. The colored resin seemed like a natural to me. It enhanced the wood. It gave it a different purpose in my view.
Is it more or less difficult to create a piece based on what a customer wants?
It’s definitely more difficult to build something for someone else. I drive myself crazy with my own stuff, but at the end of the day, its already in my head. For a client, you only get a rendition of what they want, and it’s almost like you are reading their mind. You have to envision what they’re envisioning, which is very difficult already, and for a perfectionist like myself who wants to make the client happy, it is nerve-wracking. It’s fun to make stuff for people, it really is, but it can grind on you at times.
How long does one piece usually take you or does it vary piece to piece?
It does vary. It can take me anywhere from three weeks to 12. It depends on the simplicity of the piece itself. Things may not be overly intricate, and even though it may take a week to piece together a tabletop, the finish still has to harden. Resin work can be a bit difficult simply because the curing time is 24 hours. If you pour it in the morning, it just sits there all day. You haven’t done anything to it yet, and you can’t. You can’t get dust in it, it has to be in a clean room in a clean environment, which you guessed is no problem in a wood shop. Typically a piece takes me so long because of the materials I use.
Where and how do you acquire the materials for your work?
All of my wood is U.S.-sourced stuff, 99 percent of it coming straight out Florida. A lot of the times when someone buys a product or piece off a website like Pinterest, Etsy or whatever, they are sourced outside of the U.S. The products they use won’t come from this country. As far as the resin and other things, it has been me playing around with it to find the best source. Like any other business, it’s been meeting people and making those connections for myself.
What’s the future plan for your business?
I really want to pursue wall art. You only have so much floor space, and you are always walking around your furniture, but there’s always wall space. I also really want to push encased resin. I want to build forms and push the limits on that. I want to create a lot of shapes, and bring things that are being done in Europe here. I really think that’s next, and at a big level. I think the person who comes in and pushes that envelope successfully is going to do really well. I want to be that person.
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