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Nils Wessell considers himself a born "maker." This artist and woodworker who lives and works in a small studio in Brooklyn, is the one-man operation behind a creative venture called Brooklyn Butcher Blocks. Nils designs and handcrafts minimalistic wooden home artifacts - cutting boards, butcher blocks, serving platters, cheeseboards, knife racks - his work defined by simplicity, functionality and elegance.
Nils grew up making art, his artistic style highly influenced with the time spent with his uncle and grandfather - two woodworkers and serious DIY projects addicts who introduced him to the basics of construction. Using this knowledge at Bard College, where he majored in Studio Arts, Nils tested his then rudimentary construction skills by making large-scale sculptures and architectural installations. Nils's first crafting experience was with a Brooklyn knife maker Joel Bukiewicz, the founder of Cut Brooklyn, where he apprenticed by making tangs - the part of the knife that eventually becomes the handle. Nils however soon decided it was time to try something new, and turned his low-ceilinged Brooklyn art studio into a humble woodshop. This is how his autonomous venture with Brooklyn Butcher Blocks began.
Nils's cutting boards, butcher blocks, and other sophisticated wooden pieces are strictly handcrafted American-made products. The wood he uses is grown in western Pennsylvania, the food safe glue is made in Ohio, the mineral oil in Texas, and beeswax in Missouri and New York.
After processing the rough lumber, Nils collects the sawdust and woodchips and takes it to Compost For Brooklyn, a local non-profit urban garden and learning center located in the vicinity of his woodshop.
"So far, it's been an interesting ride," says Nils, whose Brooklyn Butcher Blocks has appeared in the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Gizmodo, New York Magazine and even recommended by Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods. “I’m excited for what’s to come."
Homepage image by Donny Tsang.