Ian Spencer / Yard Sale Project

Ian Spencer / Yard Sale Project

Todd Merrill Studio began representing Yard Sale Project in 2011. Ian Spencer and Cairn Young together form Yard Sale Project, a unique force of talent in the world of design. Yard Sale Project’s one-of-a-kind pieces of wooden furniture combine Young’s highly accomplished technical designs with Spencer’s master craftsmanship. 

Yard Sale Project developed the “chaos theory,” a construction method that transcends traditional material boundaries. When considering which woods complement each other and which clash, Yard Sale Project discovered that with enough variety, such considerations become insignificant. A work composed of a “chaotic” mixture of woods becomes harmonious and balanced. Yard Sale Project’s rejection of tradition in woodworking has informed their attitude towards other materials, an example of which is seen through their use of plastic plumbing pipes to make their OSMA chair.

Ian Spencer is an accomplished artist with a lifelong passion for creating intricate and stunning pieces of furniture with a focus on material, process, and function. His journey into the world of craftsmanship began in the basement workshop of his childhood home, where he watched his father practice woodwork. Inspired by the textures and beauty of wood, Ian developed a deep appreciation for the craft at an early age, surrounded in his childhood home by the exquisite Arts & Crafts furniture of English Master Edward Barnsley.

Under the guidance of an exceptional design teacher, Ian honed his skills in design throughout his academic years, crafting enduring pieces such as a walnut display cabinet and a mahogany desk ( both still in use today, over 30 years later) during his GCSE and A level studies. His dedication and talent led him to pursue furniture design at university, where he achieved a 1st class degree and gained recognition for his innovative Chaos Technique—a groundbreaking method of construction.Despite declining an invitation to pursue a Master of Arts course, Ian’s work garnered attention from prestigious institutions like Sotheby’s, affirming the uniqueness and quality of his craftsmanship. His exploration of color and flamboyance in earlier works gradually evolved into a more contemplative and textural style, focusing on the intricate surfaces achieved through carving and ultimately different woods through the Japanese process of “shou sugi ban.”

Ian’s artistic journey took him to the tranquil countryside near Florence, Italy, where he spent four years delving into the realms of lighting and sculpture. While he delights in creating sculptural pieces, Ian remains committed to ensuring his creations maintain functionality within domestic settings—a testament to his belief in the harmony between artistry and utility.

With an unwavering commitment to his craft, Ian intends to continue creating for as long as he is physically able. He finds fulfillment in the entire process of crafting a piece, from conception to completion, relishing in the satisfaction of seeing his vision come to life. Even the packaging of his works reflects his dedication, as he personally constructs each crate with meticulous care.

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