Local Artisan Brings Beauty to Everyday Objects

Pursuing a lifelong, “hereditary” interest in art, Birchwood Village entrepreneur Devon Quick has developed a thriving business crafting handmade furniture, jewelry and more from wood, metals and other materials.

Quick, 33, grew up in south Minneapolis. His childhood inspiration was provided by his grandfather, Birney Quick, an artist who taught drawing, painting and sculpture at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), and also started the famed artists’ colony in Grand Marais, Minn. Since childhood, “I’ve always been drawing and painting, and both of my parents have been very supportive of that,” Quick says.

After high school, Quick enrolled in MCAD planning to become either an illustrator or graphic designer. But, because MCAD requires each undergrad to take at least one course in every major the school offers, he found a new focus. “I took a furniture sculpture class, and it really just stuck,” he says. He received his B.F.A. in furniture design in 2006.

Quick was much more interested in developing original pieces than creating pieces meant for mass-production. “Whatever [request] a client comes to me with, I try to put part of my style into every piece,” he explains. It’s a style Quick characterizes as “craftsman modern, with a lot of straight, clean lines, [using] natural wood and architectural metal. I really enjoy combining hardwoods like mahogany, cherry and walnut, along with raw steel, or steel with a clear coating. Those two elements together are really pleasing,” he says.

But older wood really inspires his creative spirit. “Older wood is always interesting, when it comes from wherever it has been living its previous ‘life,’” he says. “I like to let it age as long as possible to dry out, let the cracks open and get to it to a ‘settled’ state.” He recently has been using clear or colored resin materials along with wood to give it even more variety.

Quick and his wife Erika moved from south Minneapolis to the Village in 2015. They have a son and daughter: Tate, 1, and Maren, who turns 5 in July. “We wanted to live someplace more family-oriented, with more space, better schools. We fell in love with the house on the south side of the lake”, he says.

So far, Quick has found customers using only word of mouth marketing. But he maintains a marketing blog and hopes to eventually expand his reach.

One of Quick’s customers is Lauren Robbins, who hired him to create wall features, decorative elements, practical storage cabinets and staple furniture pieces for both residential and commercial uses. She calls him “a great craftsman. He takes such pride in the product he delivers,” Robbins says. “He takes the vision in my mind of what I want and creates it with impeccable design. His use of natural products like wood and iron allow for unique personality of every piece he has delivered.”

While Quick’s pieces encompass everything from earrings to tables to custom-painted award footballs and basketballs, he does have some favorites: An 11-foot-long dining room table made of reclaimed wood he found at Bauer Brothers salvage in north Minneapolis, with steel legs.

A walnut table with a fiberglass tree built into it, placed in the client’s home entryway. The tree, which is 7½ feet high, has LED lights built into it, so it can be illuminated from the inside, emitting an amber glow.