After moving from Beirut, Lebanon, to Madison County, Indiana, to attend college 30 years ago, George Abiad studied a variety of furniture craftsmen and designs, including training with internationally noted furniture maker Sam Maloof.
A full-time graphic designer and professional photographer since 1990, George says, “I always have had a passion for woodworking. As a young child in Beirut, I used to sneak into my neighbor’s woodshop. It was a family-owned operation, and I loved to spend time watching them at their craft.”
Today, most of the hardwoods used in George’s pieces are Indiana-harvested woods such as walnut, cherry, ash, and red and white oak. His furniture style is organically shaped and semi-sculptural, featuring intersecting curves flowing from one piece of wood to another. Depending on the client, he also builds more traditional furniture featuring tapered legs and raised panel construction.
“From start to finish, the woodworking process is a lengthy one,” he says. “I design each piece individually, and I select the materials with great care, paying close attention to the color and grain of the wood.
“It is important to me that my pieces are both beautiful and functional,” George adds.
Once the different parts of wood are surfaced, dimensioned and cut to size, George puts the parts together using interlocking or wedged joints that give each piece its solid construction to withstand the test of time. He uses either mortise and tenon or wedged joinery, and the long process continues with shaping, rasping and sanding before the final finishing.
“My style of design and construction, as well as the combination of woods, curves and eye-catching inlays used, give my pieces unique characteristics that identify them as my own,” he says.
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