Woodworker Delights in the Thrill of Making Useful Items for Others to Enjoy
Updated: Sep 28
Alan poses with one of his handmade clocks under his tent at the recent ART ON THE PRAIRIE show in Warrenville, IL. Clocks, with quartz movement, and embossed with copper or brass panels, cost about $165. Scroll down to see more of Alan's work...
Artist Name: Alan Cherim
Town: Geneva, IL
Alan isn’t into woodworking to get rich, he’s in it for the sheer joy of making something from nothing. His products range from decorator tables to storage cabinets, clocks, wine racks, and small storage boxes.
Because he’s also skilled at working with metal, many of his wood designs are accented with copper or brass. Additionally, he owns an extensive collection of vintage cabinetry hardware that he often adds to his pieces for a vintage vibe.
Working with wood since his early teens, he graduated into remodeling projects after purchasing his family’s home. Fast forward to when his wife began making purchases at antique stores, the prices she paid stopped Alan in his tracks. “I can make the same thing for you for much less,” he told her.
While still working in the printing industry for many years, Alan decided to step up the hours he spent on woodworking to eventually launch a post-career business he named, Copper Prairie. His studio is conveniently located in his own garage where he has upgraded his tools from working primarily by hand to using power tools.
Customers quickly grew beyond the scope of family and friends, as he posted on Craigslist and appeared in art fairs. His daughter advised him that it was time to set up a website and created one for him.
Alan works in a variety of furniture styles that include: Prairie, Stickney, Mission, Craftsman, Shaker or contemporary. Pieces are crafted in oak, pine, walnut, cherry, and maple. Often, he uses salvaged wood that he repurposes saying that his favorite wood right now is oak.
“I enjoy watching people’s reaction to my work,” he says. “My goal is to make something nice that people can afford.”
It’s obvious when meeting Alan that he loves what he does and puts great thought into all his projects.
“The wood tells me, as I go along, how to work with it, and what it wants to be,” he explains.
“Working in my shop makes me happy, especially knowing it will turn into something someone will enjoy owning.”
Alan accepts commissions. Learn more at: www.copperpraire.com
Alan designed these boxes originally to store taper candles.
One of Alan's console tables with lower shelf and drawer.
A more contemporary piece in progress.
Bright orange storage cabinets with chicken-wire insets add function and color to the patio.
Another work in progress shows Alan's careful attention to detail.