HarborArts makes its home within a 14 acre shipyard filled with enormous warehouses, old firehouses, and abandoned office buildings. A visitor strolling around the Shipyard Gallery may eye the vast brick facades and broken plate glass and (erroneously) assume there are hundreds of artist studios tucked away behind them.
Though we’re working on developing some of this fallow space into affordable and functional artist studios, currently there are only a few working artists in the shipyard. Brandon Gatti, owner of Grain Wood Shop, is one of them.
Last year, Brandon took on the herculean task of cleaning up the second floor of Building 35, former home of a naval machinery testing shop. Brandon cleared out the crumbling walls, piles of rusting machinery, a few families of squatter raccoons, and literally tons of debris from the decades-vacant 8000 square foot space before building out his bright and open custom wood shop and furniture showroom.
Brandon is a born craftsperson. He has moved through his life with the eye of someone who sees how things fit together: how objects, however disparate or abandoned they may seem, can be brought into the realm of beauty and use by his hand. The Beetle Cat sailboat awaiting refinishing on his shop floor speaks to his past as a boat builder and restorer, and the airy and functional layout of Grain makes perfect sense when you learn he has an architecture degree.
Specializing in reclaimed woods and live-edge slabs, Brandon brings furniture to an interactive and subjective level. Clients can browse his hand-picked selection of one-of-a-kind pieces of lumber, and Brandon can create a custom work or set of works from the wood picked by the client.
Grain Wood Shop was a huge contributor to HarborArts Festival 2014, and Brandon opened up his space to festgoers as a sort of one-man open studios. All day, people passed though his shop admiring the raw wood slabs and finished furniture on display. “I received a great response from the community about opening a custom woodworking shop in the area,” he said about the festival turnout. “Over seven hundred people came up to see the new shop and showroom. It’s great being in Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina and being in East Boston.”
We’re hoping Brandon’s shop serves as an example of the sort of fine artistic and entrepreneurial spaces the shipyard can engender, and we’re thrilled to have him as a neighbor and supporter. Check out his website here and stay in touch via his Facebook page, where you can see a good bit of his recent work and process.