SML Studio is workshop specializing in wood and glass to create one of a kind fine lamps and furniture. The studio emphasizes traditional joinery techniques, wood carving and the utilization of hand tools. SML Studio has a focus on tree awareness and environmental sustainability through understanding the local urban forest, implementation of regional lumber species and unused or reclaimed material.
The growth and prosperity of trees living in high populations of people are balanced with our will to create infrastructure for them. SML studio is located in Chicago, where trees are one of the most important elements of the population's quality of life. Urban trees have a huge job, to create sustainable living conditions for a large city they remove tons of pollutants from the air, they soak up millions of gallons of rain water every year relieving stress on drainage infrastructure, create habitats and food for wildlife, make tons of shade for hot and humid summer days, and lend green life to an otherwise concrete and brick landscape. As a woodworking studio, we are aware of the importance of maintaining our forests, where the primary principle is attempting to balance the growth of these trees and the utilization of their lumber. Pushing a board through a table saw can mean removing years, decades, or sometimes a century of a tree's growth. Hand tool woodworking helps slow down the building process and develop a more tuned relationship with the wood fibers, as those fibers are made up by individual cells that were once a channel for water and nutrients that supported the tree's life, and by consequence the people's lives surrounding it.
Shawn Lucas, born is St. Louis, Missouri, began his original artistic track in music. He moved to Chicago in 2010 and received a master's degree in music composition from DePaul University School of Music in 2012, studying with composers Juan Campoverde, Seung-Won Oh, and Christopher Jones.
During years of collaboration with other musicians and artists, Shawn worked extensively with the new music ensemble Fonema Consort, and participated in numerous residencies including FIMAC Festival in Cuenca, Ecuador; High Concept Labs; the 2016 Summer courses at Darmstadt as a collaborator with the performance art ensemble MOCREP; and from 2015-17, Shawn curated a new music and performance series at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art and ARC Gallery in Chicago. From 2017-2023 Shawn worked in programming, exhibitions and administration at Mana Contemporary Chicago, and managed Mana's facility and operations from 2020-23. Working in Chicago and beyond expanded Shawn's artistic ideas, which propelled the development of sonic works that utilized lighting elements and wooden objects as musical material. As these ideas began to take root, a fundamental desire to craft objects that were functional in nature became a primary interest. Thus woodworking, building furniture and creating lamps became a sole priority. As the studio began to develop in mid 2017, hand tools and wood joinery became the core focus of the practice.
SML Studio is currently located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, IL.