On the Job With Austin Aaron of Dancing Grains Woodworks

Austin Aaron, founder of the Boulder-based bespoke woodworking brand Dancing Grains Woodworks, creates handcrafted furniture, cabinets, and other elements designed to elevate your home while grounding you with nature.

Austin Aaron
Photo by Ian Glass.

Austin Aaron founded Dancing Grains Woodworks in 2008. At the time, he was in his early 20s studying psychology, and he waltzed into the world of woodworking a little unconventionally—one spoonful at a time. “I was working in wilderness therapy where I started carving spoons,” he says. “Spoons turned into lots of ideas for other furnishings, and away I went.” Today, the driving ethos of this furniture-crafting atelier is to foster equilibrium and serenity, seamlessly merging the allure of your home environment with the natural world. We spoke with Aaron about his company, his work, and the importance of the details in design. This is what he had to say.

“I split my time between design, management, planning, and woodworking. I design everything we build, and I build some of the more complicated and unique pieces.”

“My inspiration for design has always come from nature. You hear that a lot when asking artists about their influences because nature has a way of creating infinite original shapes and color schemes. I’ll often see unique shapes and textures on a cliff wall or in an old, twisting tree, and they give me ideas.”

- Advertisement -

“Walnut is the age-old favorite wood. It sells the best because it’s beautiful. Locally salvaged Siberian elm is our new shop favorite. It’s gorgeous, nice to work with, and is as sustainable as it gets. These trees come down in normal maintenance and offer the zero-carbon solution to wood supply.”

Dancing Grains Woodworks dining set
Photo courtesy of Dancing Grains Woodworks.

“We talk about ‘deep sustainability.’ That is a way of looking beyond just the materials or energy that goes into a piece to the length of life it will live and the expectation of further material and carbon waste down the road.”

“I love making sculptural furniture most. We have elements of sculpture in a lot of our pieces, but unique and wild is really satisfying for me.”

“Several years ago, we built a dining table with an enormous single-piece walnut top and a very sculptural base. It mixed curvy metal and wood pieces in an off-center cantilevered design. It was an extreme challenge to figure out how to do it, and a blast to pull it off.”

“We offer several lines of furniture ranging in style from modern to a twist on traditional to natural. Traditional doesn’t do it for me, but modernizing classic elements feels new and more exciting in this era.”

“Wood moves a lot. It continues to expand and contract throughout the seasons for the rest of its life.”

“Every environment needs some nature.”

“People see thousands of pictures of other furniture options online, but that’s an insufficient way to comprehend the impact of our work. It’s hard to grasp what our furniture feels like without being around it in person. I think people find joy in stumbling upon our space—it’s surprising.”

“When all of the design forethought and craft intention come together, our furniture offers a soothing and relaxing element to the environment it resides in.”