Thomas Franke

Thomas Franke

Artist, Woodworker and Clock Maker

Thomas Franke

Artist Statement:

Many of the greatest architects also designed chairs and other pieces of furniture. I was drawn to furniture design because I think of it as a more immediate, intimate and less rigid form of architecture. Buildings can take years to complete, but with a piece of furniture, it is possible to conceive, design and construct a project within a few weeks. Modifications or improvements can be easily made as the project progresses or as inspiration dictates.

I began my career primarily as a furniture craftsman. As I progressed, I spent more time designing on the computer, and less as a hands-on craftsman. I have been fortunate to have had my designs sold worldwide and in the millions of units. I have also had the benefit of working with a Danish Manufacturer, and I’ve been greatly influenced by the clean contemporary lines of Danish design. In the last few years I’ve returned to my roots as a designer/craftsman. There is nothing more rewarding to me, than taking a concept from the initial spark to completion with your own hands. I currently focus mainly on clocks and contemporary chairs, as these items seem to allow just the right combination of function and artistic freedom.

Influences: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Gerrit Reitveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Danish chair designer Hans Wegner

Born and raised in Milwaukee, I became interested in furniture as a design student at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

I have worked as:

  • Prototype craftsman for a furniture factory
  • Exhibit designer for Discovery World Science Museum
  • Product development manager and designer for Techline – I was hired by Marshall Erdman, who was a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Designer for Tvilum, an international furniture manufacturer in Denmark
  • Started my own design consulting business
  • Clocks 100%
  • Furniture 100%
  • Woodwork 100%