Jason Pickens' Brooklyn Studio Produces Gorgeous Furniture and Crafty Videos

He's completely at home in front of the camera, but J. Pickens' true talent is in making masterful pieces of custom furniture right in the middle of New York City. Take a tour of his studio where he makes everything from HGTV Handmade videos to stunning pieces of art.

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November 07, 2019

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Photo By: Stephanie Diani

Welcome to the Studio

You may know Jason Pickens from his crafty videos on HGTV Handmade, but where he feels most at home is in his studio in Brooklyn, New York. From beautiful high-end furniture to HGTV videos, lots of things get made in this massive space.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

But First, Coffee

Pickens recently renovated his studio and installed this simple but elegant kitchen. The black cabinetry and farmhouse sink would look just as good in a home as it does in this working studio space. Most importantly, Pickens needs it to be able to make coffee.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Good Grinder, Good Coffee

Pickens splurged on a fancy "smart" coffee grinder from Breville for his morning (truthfully, all day) coffee at the studio.

Go Ahead, Splurge: Bed Bath & Beyond, 199.99

Great Design Lasts

This vintage gold coffee mug is one of J. Pickens' favorite pieces by industrial designer Eva Zeisel. They're a rare find but stand the test of time. But if you love this look you're in luck — Jason's friend Darbie Angell has a similar gold place setting collection you can buy in stores.

Get the Look: Dillard's, 180.00

Studio Sitting Area

The sitting area in Pickens' studio is filled with meaningful pieces of furniture and art. The vintage sofa and chair are complemented by the spalted maple coffee table Pickens made by hand.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Custom J. Pickens Coffee Table

Pickens made this coffee table out of a huge cross-section of spalted maple. Adding red hairpin legs created a modern contrast to the natural beauty of the wood.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Meet the Bear

This taxidermied bear is a permanent part of the J. Pickens studio decor. His father hunted this bear in Canada and now he lives out his days surrounded by high-end furniture and art.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Pickens' Work Desk

When he's not back in the wood shop, Pickens spends time working at his custom-made desk that he shares with his studio-mate and artist Francesco Simeti. There's space for two computers, reference books and neatly organized office accessories.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Gorgeous Desk Accessories

Pickens keeps his office supplies corralled in these gorgeous boxes. No surprise that they are the handiwork of the man himself. The green snakeskin box makes for an especially gorgeous desk accessory.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Sketches for Custom Pieces

Pickens keeps sketch books like this one for each of his commissioned projects. He gathers ideas and pastes them into the books. Everything from animals to nature influences his work. He begins with basic shapes and builds on that form to more complicated, finished ideas.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

A View of the Gallery Space

Pickens, a furniture maker, shares his Brooklyn Studio with artist Francesco Simeti. Not only do they share some of the material costs of operating such a large studio, but they both get creative input from a fellow artist by sharing the space. The middle of the studio seen here operates as a gallery and as Simeti's working space.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Full-Length View

At 4,000 square feet, the studio is a massive space that used to serve as an industrial facility. From the front entrance straight through to the back it's around 100 feet long.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

The Pottery Studio

Even though it's mostly one large space, Jason has designated different parts of the studio for specific functions. Here in the back under the skylight is his pottery studio complete with pottery wheel, tables for clay rolling and a slop sink.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

He Feels at Peace Here

Jason refers to this part of his studio as his, "Zen chill space." He took up pottery after learning how to throw on the set of an HGTV video and loved it so much that he decided he needed his own wheel and kiln in his studio.

See J Work: Pottery Making at Mugi Studio

A Space for a Little Mess

In the enclosed woodshop at Pickens' studio, there are pristine conditions, but out here in the pottery studio, he allows just a little bit of mess. The shelves organize most of the pottery and supplies include huge 5-gallon buckets of clay, but throwing pottery is a messy business.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

The Pottery Wheel

Jason says that he "refuses to clean" the pottery wheel because it's just going to make a mess again next time he throws. We can sort of see his point, but he says real potters would never approve of the state of his wheel.

Buy the Wheel: BigCeramicStore.com, 1300

Make a Friend Like Jason

If buying a professional kiln like the one Jason has in his studio isn't in the cards for you — they are pricey and require special electrical set ups with plenty of space — try seeing if you can make friends at a local pottery studio. They're often firing up their kilns with room to spare and may be happy to let you in on the heat.

Anything Can Become Art

Pickens is a custom furniture maker by trade but he's also a designer and clearly an artist as well. In fact, he turned some sheet brass, which is typically used for more industrial purposes, into these small sculptures that line his shelves. Being able to see the art in the ordinary is one of his most artistic skills.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Heart of the Studio

If there is a beating heart to Pickens' studio, it's right here in the woodshop. It is here that he builds his furniture with hundreds of tools he’s collected. Jason says, "I probably have in my life 30,000 hours in a wood shop using these tools." They've been collected over years and across continents.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Tools Are Obsessively Organized

Hand-held wood planers and clamps line the wall in Pickens' wood shop and are so beautifully organized and displayed that they almost seem like art themselves. Jason knows exactly where every tool goes and can easily direct a visitor to the shop to the exact spot a desired tool lives.

Tool Tidy-Up: The Best Ways to Keep Your Tools Organized

"I Collect Hammers."

For a man with a serious tool collection, saying that he has of collection of hammers within that collection almost seems like an admission of a problem. But in the most sincere justification, Pickens says, "I'm constantly needing very special types of hammering."

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Tools From All Over the World

This array of wood turning tools and chisels on the back wall of the wood shop may not look like anything special to the layman, but his collection of wood tools is priceless to Pickens. He's bought tools from all over the world on his travels, "It's taken a lifetime to collect [these tools], some you can no longer buy."

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

Wall of Clamps

As a talented furniture maker, Pickens' complicated pieces often need wood clamps like these to hold them together in the fabrication process. He organizes his by size on the walls of the woodshop.

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

The Most Important Things

Jason easily spends more time in his studio than his home. His love of his craft shows through his careful collection of his tools. "The most important thing for me in my space is my tools," Pickens explained as he talked about his studio. We're glad he let us in to this beautiful space for a tour!

Watch the Video: Tour Jason Pickens' New York Studio

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