Bast Wood Studio is a space designed with the intention for creativity to flourish through craft and woodworking. This studio is built on the principle of honor, from the wood we work with, to the tools we use, to our own selves as created and creative beings. Being a part of the the Greenwood Estate, Bast Studio is partnered with a larger mission to empower people to show up with their whole selves, and to add to the richness of the Rogue valley.
The current resident artist and studio coordinator is Thomas Petersen. He attended the Greenwood and Company in 2018 and has been friends with Jonathan and Rachael Hillis for the past 5 years.
The first thing I ever built was a cedar chest. I slapped it together from old fence boards in my grandfather’s dimly lit garage, got hands full of splinters, and couldn’t have been more proud of myself. I was 19 and needed a tactile pastime to distract me from my angsty thoughts so I started woodworking. I was innocent in my desire to build and this innocence gave me the freedom to try anything.
For a while this small, private adventure was enough. I built things that interested me, and told no one but my grandfather and my housemates. At the time I was living with two close friends, and they wouldn’t let me sit idle with woodworking. They asked me what it was I truly wanted, and challenged me to get curious about the talents and desires that dwelled in my heart.
These were questions I could’t have answered before woodworking. But having a craft for my hands also gave me a language for my heart. When I looked at my projects I saw a new expression of myself. I found parallels between my heart and the piece of wood I was working with. I would cut and sand a hunk of oak and watch it transform into something new. I couldn’t stop wondering what similar change was happening in me.
After that first chest, I stepped into a previously unknown dialogue about beauty. We interact with all kind of beauty daily, and more often than not we play the easy part of consumer. I wanted to create things more than I consumed them. I wanted to be transformed by a thing’s beauty without needing to possess it.
The more I created, the more curious I seemed to become. I was hungry for more, and had no idea that I was at the beginning of something grand and totally unexpected.
That something grand was waiting for me in Southern Oregon, and first appeared as a friend’s commission for a dining room table. I approached this project with the same sloppy enthusiasm I had always used, but somewhere in the making my passion for woodworking changed. The finished table was the most honest thing I had ever created. Every crooked corner and rough patch was absolutely true to who I was. The process of creating that table was vulnerable and real. It felt like falling in love. I knew that I could build like this for the rest of my life.
Soon after, I started to create a business, which proved to be far more difficult and terrifying that I expected. Creating a brand meant putting a piece of myself in front of a community and letting them judge it as they saw fit. I was unsure if I had anything truly valuable to offer. But every time my fear asks “What if it doesn’t work?” I realize the real confrontation isn’t with fear of failure, but with what I’m actually capable of if I try.
The more I create, the more I realize that it is about so much more than straight cuts and glass smooth finishes. Woodworking is about who I am, how I see the world, and a product of what happens when I choose to show up fully in every moment of my life.
Showcased above are the current works by Teleo Collaborative. All items are for sale via direct contact with the artist through email or phone. All items are available for local pickup, the large coffee table blocks and dining table are not available for shipping at this time.