Off the Hook

From Sushi to Sofas with Michael Wilson

Amy Adams
May 15, 2013

Certain career transitions seem fairly obvious: The actor who directs. The athlete turned sportscaster. A pampered housewife transmogrified into a reality television star. But a former sushi chef now making fine art furniture? That’s not one you hear every day. Yet after viewing Michael Wilson’s modern-organic designs, the leap from raw fish to California walnut isn’t as radical as one might think. The Japanese-American woodworker applies the same labor-intensive, sculptural sensibility to his individually carved chairs, stools and tables as he did to a request for omakase. Working primarily with reclaimed woods sourced from his in-law’s Missouri property and the Texas Hill Country, Wilson developed his own treatment for every step of production, milling lumber himself and creating his own personal recipe for a non-synthetic oil and wax finish. The results appear to have been released from a tree trunk in his Wimberley studio. And, unlike your sashimi order, each branded and dated piece is sure to stand the test of time. At Grange Hall, Scott + Cooner.