Meet Nat Cohen
An Artist and Craftsman with Exquisite Attention to Detail
I am an artist and craftsman, trained in sculpture, woodcarving, drawing, and design. I make things that you can use, enjoy, and pass down to future generations.
I work with architects, designers, builders, and homeowners to create interior and exterior architectural details, furniture, and decorative objects that enhance their projects. I also make custom signs for small businesses and institutions, including churches, schools, and libraries. These one-of-a-kind creations express the unique place of these establishments in their community. For restoration projects, I work with a variety of situations and clients. Each restoration job expands my knowledge of the historical use of design and materials.
The Art of Woodworking
I’m inspired by the many uses of wood throughout history — for utilitarian, ceremonial, and aesthetic purposes — by people all over the world. Each project has exciting challenges. Every new commission provides the opportunity to add visual interest to people’s lives.
Nat Cohen carved and installed a sign for the renovated one-room Boyden Schoolhouse (1881) in Conway, Mass. He understood the challenges inherent in historical preservation projects, from design constraints and fixed budgets to committee approvals, and was spot on with his time and cost estimates. We could not have been more pleased with his work—the handsome lettering, the choice of wood and finish, and his overall fine craftsmanship.
In the summer of 2014 I was commissioned to build a piece of wooden furniture that was to be inscribed. Nat helped with the cursive font selection and hand carved the inscription, all within a tight time line. It worked out well and the client was very pleased with the piece.
Our experience with Nat was wonderful and we couldn't be happier with our sign. He walked us through design, production, and placement of our sign with a clear understanding of the project and stuck to an accurate timeline. The final product was exquisitely crafted and is a new source of pride for our young business.
When our church commissioned Nat to design a donor tree, we each had a vision of the finished project. Nat listened to our requests and crafted a proposal that combined all of our ideas into a beautiful finished project — that's the mark of a true craftsman! Nat was easy to work with, sporting a great sense of humor and an unparalleled attention to detail. He was always on time to our meetings, worked within his original estimate and our budgetary constraints, and came back as many times as it took to create the perfect end product. We are delighted with our gorgeous donor tree that is now the focal point of our entrance.
Nat Cohen brought life to our brewery’s imagery, gracing us with beautiful, one-of-a-kind works of art that we get to share with our customers in our brewpub. Nat was a pleasure to work with and create with because he listened to us and cared for our projects as if we were his main priority. He always made us feel included in each step he took during his carving process, from wood sourcing, to drawing things out, right through to the end of the carving. Our customers often point out how beautiful the carvings are, and we proudly tell them that a local craftsman, Nat Cohen of Foothills Wood Studio, made them!
The Parish of the Epiphany is an Episcopal Church near Boston. Our building is beautiful, and reflects some of the finest of New England’s bounty from the early 1900s: hand-carved oak railings and pews, custom iron work, light fixtures, and ceramic tile. When we wanted to install additional wood furnishings (a tabernacle and a credence table) it was really important to commission a wood worker who understood us, including our wonderfully crazy tendency to accommodate many stakeholders, and to get the best in design and craftsmanship. We got it all in Nat Cohen and Foothills Wood Studio. Everybody is thrilled, and God is glorified.
Who I Am
I started Foothills Wood Studio in the 1990s. My intent was to combine my education and experience as an artist with my love for wood and woodworking, especially carving.
I gravitated to carving as a sculptural practice, enthralled by its illustrative beauty and rich cultural history. Because I am an image maker at heart and by training, I have always been captivated by the artistic decoration of wood. I draw an image and then develop the image in three dimensions.
I am especially inspired by the craft — from choosing and milling the wood, to determining the engineering constraints, to creating the forms with hand tools, to applying the appropriate finishes. Understanding the possibilities and limitations of the design and materials and mastering both machine and hand tool skills have given me the ability to make beautiful finished products.