Bright red, pink and purple sawdust fills the woodshop at G3 Studios from boards of African mahogany, bloodwood, Bolivian rosewood, purpleheart, tulipwood, lacewood, cocobolo and other exotic-sounding lumber. The final pieces will be just as colorful.
Based in Interlochen, G3 Studios was started in 2003 by Gregg Palm and Yvonne Holland. The pair first introduced their work at art fairs and galleries throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Now, their products can be found online and in galleries across North America, Canada and the Virgin Islands. (View a list of retailers here.)
Creating everything from beer caddies to clocks, checkerboards, jewelry boxes, coasters, pepper mills and salt grinders, G3 Studios uses natural woods approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. The more colorful wood comes from southern climates. “Pure Mother Nature at its best, if you ask us,” Yvonne says.
Gregg, the man behind the one-of-a-kind designs, remembers being obsessed with objects as a child, constantly asking how they were made and taking things apart. In Junior shop class, he was fascinated by the tools and machines, which translated to a degree in mechanical engineering. After 20 years working as an engineer in the automotive industry, his love for working with metal and wood resurfaced after refinishing his stairs at home.
“Gregg’s been woodworking forever,” Yvonne says. “He just loves making things with his hands. Someone said to him in 2000, you should start selling your stuff. People will buy it. So, he did.”
Gregg’s intricate salt grinders (pictured above) take a minimum of three weeks to make—sometimes a lot longer. The different woods are cut to a specific width and length, sanded multiple times then stacked like a sandwich and bonded together. And the finishing process actually takes longer than the construction of the piece. “No two ever come out the same, that’s why we refer to them as functional art,” Yvonne says.
Everything is made in G3 Studio’s woodshop in Interlochen. “We do use modern technology to cut the parts, but then they are all hand sanded, hand finished, and hand assembled,” Yvonne says.