Biography of Wayne Ignatuk

   I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach....    Henry David Thoreau

   I went to the woods because I wished, after 18 years as an engineer, to change my career and spend more time with my wife and four children.  Today our summer residence of many years has happily become our full-time home and my longtime hobby is now my vocation.

  In my youth, I would often help my parents rebuild and refinish antiques.  This experience gave me a love of woodworking, as well as a working knowledge of furniture design.  When I first visited the Adirondacks in the mid-'80's, I discovered an overwhelming urge to build something from twigs.  From a stack of firewood, I gathered the materials for my first few hand hewn projects.

   Since then, I have learned a great deal about the nature of wood, its many features, and its countless varieties: hardwood and softwood... grain and figure... sapwood and heartwood... spalted wood... burl, and most importantly the drying process.  Each has a function, and each holds its own peculiar fascination.

   Like all crafts, furniture making melds the practical and the beautiful; the principles of construction and the esthetics of the artist.  My engineering background enables me to build strength and durability into each piece I make.  The square mortise and tenon joints that distinguish my furniture derive from the rugged, timeless work of Gustav Stickley.  There are no nails or screws needed with this type of joinery.  The natural curves of the branches and roots, and the twists of the twigs make power tools virtually useless.  I have nothing against power tools, I own some of the best, but the hammer, the chisel, and the hand saw do most of the work.

Design and decorative features are the result of an artistic collaboration: natures indomitable will on the wood and my own sense of beauty.  The final form is determined as much by the shapes and patterns of the material as by the whim of the designer.  I harvest much of the wood from my own mountainside property and constantly seek special pieces from other sources

   Swallowtail Studio designs and builds custom furniture influenced by the "arts & crafts" movement while allowing the trees' subtle curves to effect the design.  Each piece is distinguished by the mix of native hardwoods, hand chiseled mortise and tenon joinery, butterfly keys, refined rustic detailing and hand rubbed oil finishes.

   I graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Engineering.  After 18 years in the laser industry my woodworking hobby became a new career.  My work has been featured in several publications and profiled on HGTV's "The Good Life" (episode #1104), and on Mountain Lake PBS's "Rustic Living" (episode 105). In a small gallery above my workshop pieces can be viewed  by appointment.

   I have thoroughly enjoyed the development and directions my work has taken.  The evolution of my craft has been a fascinating journey.

Wayne has been very committed through the years to several organizations that he has donated his work in various fundraising efforts. "My family has been so fortunate and have enjoyed being a part of some great organizations. I like supporting them by doing something that can help ensure that they keep doing what their doing for a long time."