Having grown up across the river from New Hope, Pennsylvania, Bret has long drawn inspiration from Phillip Lloyd Powell and Paul Evans. He even has Powell’s table saw and a number of his tools in his workshop. But it’s their bold, self-sufficient attitudes, more so than the landmark furniture borne from their collaborations, that steer his own impulses. Essential as a dining table, an armoire, and a sideboard may be, they should never be taken for granted.
That mindset nurtured the seeds that grew into the Trophy Series, a collection Bret crafted specifically for exhibition at the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City. He’d been designing and making furniture and accessories in his Milford, New Jersey, studio for
10 years at that point, but it was the prominence of the stage that seemed to finally announce
He’s since proven to be one of the most imaginative minds working in the field. The commissions that have followed share little in common. But the intricacy of the designs and the unorthodox juxtaposition of materials, it all attests to a thoughtful, intensive craftsmanship.
Bret’s work—his life, really—is driven by an insatiable curiosity. Always has been. He grew up around an antique car garage, built motorcycles for fun in high school and then spent his early adulthood pursuing a range of trades to their logical complement—machinery, leatherwork, metal fabrication, welding, cooking. (He built his own food truck.) The unusual breadth of that experience comes into play with every piece of furniture he makes today.
His designs defy convention because he’s the rare craftsman whose skillset lives up to his imagination.