Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, in 1961 Erik Wolken first became interested in working with wood during his college days in Morgantown West Virginia. He had stumbled into the woodworking collection in the university library and checked two out, Building a Houseful of Furniture by Simon Watts and The Wendell Castle book of Wood Lamination, both to become an important source of ideas for years to come. From there with limited tools on his back porch in West Virginia he built his earliest pieces. His path as an artist from that point has traveled from becoming a traditional trained furniture maker and opening up his own studio in Chapel Hill North Carolina in 1994 to incorporating a more sculptural aesthetic in his furniture work to finally exploring pure sculpture and to fluidly moving between all three. In the midst of this his guiding light is to find a rhythm and poetry in his pieces that is a confluence of lines, color, texture and graphic imagery that tells a narrative, for at its most basic his work is about story telling.
Wolken’ furniture work has been featured in numerous publications and books including American Craft Magazine and the Furniture Studio book series put out by the Furniture Society. His work is the permanent collection of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design in Raleigh North Carolina, The Center for Wood Turning and Furniture Design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and in the collection of prominent collectors Jane and Arthur Mason