Make : Eric Hollenbeck
Film : Ben Proudfoot
Make : Norman Billingham
Film : Anne Holiday
I’m Nicole Hodsdon, and I live just outside of Detroit, Michigan. I hand-craft bent plywood furniture and home goods under the name Ciseal.
What made you want to be a maker?
I started out in engineering, and each day I would sit in my cubicle just dreaming of a job that didn’t involve sitting in cubicles or writing engineering work orders. I had no clue what to do instead - just that engineering wasn’t it. At the time, I didn’t have much design or carpentry experience beyond a couple classes in high school, but it all started when I was looking for some bookshelves. Not just your ordinary shelves, but something unique. After going to store after store, I couldn’t find anything I liked, so I built up the courage to design and build my own. And I loved it. I had some help at first with the building part, but I caught on quick. That bookshelf project was the spark. I explored design and craft a bit more and eventually created a portfolio that got me into the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. While there, I took a class that was all about bending plywood and I was hooked. Crafting bent plywood by hand is the perfect mix of both art and engineering for me. Figuring out how to make the modern, clean forms and designing them to function for everyday life is what gets me excited every day.
Why should people support your business/products?
In designing my bent plywood pieces, I believe in working with honest materials to create useful products with clean lines to suit the modern-day lifestyle. My furniture and accessories are designed to be used every day, loved every day, and enjoyed every day - hopefully for years to come. When a customer buys an item from me, they are making an investment in something that lasts. Nothing is more beautiful than a well-used bent plywood piece that shows through its nicks, scratches, and worn veneer that it’s been loved for a lifetime.
Favorite product that you make?
It’s gotta be the tablet stand. I don’t even own a tablet, but I find myself using them in the kitchen for cookbooks, amplifying my iPhone, displaying pictures - so much more than we originally intended.
List five of your favorite tools.
1. Scissors - These monsters cut through double-layered veneer like it’s paper.
2. Silicone Spatula - The best glue spreader out there because the glue won’t stick to it.
3. Table Saw - It took a while for me to get this saw, but now I love being able to cut straight lines.
4. Clamps - I couldn’t mold veneer without these - lots of them.
5. Sanding Block - I’m sanding all the time and this little beauty makes it that much easier.
(photographs from Nicole Hodsdon)