Tahle Patton Picture

Tahle Patton

Hand and Power Tools Instructor


I started woodworking at the age of 10, making small airplanes out of driftwood in my grandfather’s workshop on Orcas Island in Washington State.

I have played guitar from an early age and have always admired the beauty and complex construction of the instrument. This appreciation led to a Luthiers apprenticeship in 1982 on Guemes Island under the instruction of Robert Girdis. I also worked on traditional wooden boats for Freya Boatworks in Anacortes. During this time of intensive exposure to wood and woodworking, I fell in love with the craft and the medium. I also had my first exposure to the writings of the influential and controversial master James Krenov and I found his philosophy intriguing.

I went on to develop a lucrative career as a hairdresser in downtown Seattle for 16 years, and kept a nice shop in the basement of my home to develop my woodworking skills as a hobby and a passion. I took classes over the years and in 1992 enrolled in an evening program at Seattle Central Community College taught by Ross Day, a former student of James Krenov.

By 1999 my work was split between working in the salon and taking furniture commissions. It was clear my heart was in the woodshop. I made the decision to pursue intensive training and applied to Krenov’s school in California. I was honored to be accepted to the class of 2000. I quit my job, sold my house, packed up the cats, and spent a challenging, creative, and productive year on the beautiful Mendocino coast.

Krenov’s experiential philosophies and generous teachings by my friend and mentor Robert Spangler have helped to form my style. I am intensively exploring my design voice. I find myself drawn to a new esthetic, one where nature meets modern design. This Northwest Modern style is a balance of human and nature, urban and rural, inside and outside. It is informed by the beautiful materials indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. I hope to create pieces that let the materials speak for themselves, a quiet design that does not overwhelm the beauty of the wood.

The relationship of hands, tools, wood, creativity, and one-pointed awareness is a practice of living fully in the present, a meditation of sorts. My love of this experience drives my work. I am inspired by the tremendous human potential and desire to actualize ourselves creatively and spiritually, especially in these difficult times. It is reassuring to see the positive effect that art has on our culture, whether it is a thing of beauty or a challenge to our minds. I hope my work can invoke a greater appreciation for the effort, refinement, experience, and life force of the handmade object, a contribution towards peace in the human spirit.

2000-2002 Apprentice to Robert Spangler, Seattle, WA
Instruction in design and construction of studio furniture.

1999-2000 College of the Redwoods, Fort Bragg, CA
Fine furniture certificate program with James Krenov.

1988-1993 Seattle Central Community College,Seattle, WA
One year fine furniture program with Ross Day.
On- going studies in cabinetmaking and fine furniture.

1982-1983 Robert Girdis Guitars, Guemes Island, WA
Apprentice in steel string guitar making.

January 2001
The Company Store Gallery- Fort Bragg, CA
College of the Redwoods Winter Show

May 2001
Highlight Gallery- Mendocino, CA
College of the Redwoods Graduation Show

June 2001
Woodfair 2001- Ukiah, CA

September 2001
Highlight Gallery- Mendocino, CA
“Twenty Years of Fine Woodworking”
Graduates of James Krenov’s Program

August 2003
Square Room Gallery- Seattle, WA
Solo Show

October 1998
Cassis Bistro- Seattle, WA
Interior woodworking.

October 2003
Bandol Bistro, The Smith Tower- Seattle, WA
Interior design and architectural woodworking.

NW Gallery of Fine Woodworking
Seattle, WA

Square Room Gallery
Seattle, WA

Greener Lifestyle
Seattle, WA

Bellingham, WA

Highlight Gallery
Mendocino, CA