As a very young boy, Roger Ellison turned lumber scraps into toys with a hand saw, hammer and chisel. Formal training began in junior high and continued through high school under the tutelage of two inspirational shop teachers – Clifton Moss and Joe Neel - who focused on fundamentals, emphasized beauty and character of wood and encouraged creativity. Over the years, self-study and practical application have since been the most effective tutors, but along the way, formal sessions with the Graham Blackburn, Paul Sellers, and Darrell Peart have wetted his appetite to learn more.
In 2013, he spent 3 months in a furniture intensive at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. The school’s philosophy is to teach to the highest levels of craftsmanship; the practical and artistic application gave him one of the great experiences of his life.
Roger works with a variety of woods, but is best known for his work in mesquite and other native Texas woods which are expressive of Texas traditions. Other than mesquite, renewable American hardwoods such as cherry, walnut, ash, maple and oak are his favorites. Sometimes he uses tropical hardwoods, often for accents.
Roger’s design and work run in seemingly different directions. One reflects the influence of the Arts and Crafts traditions - Craftsman, Mission, Stickley, Greene & Greene. He has created several pieces of a line he calls Greene & Gruene which uses mesquite, Texas ebony and other Texas woods and features lines influenced by cultural and environmental icons of Texas. The other direction is more contemporary, including wood bent by steam or shaped using laminations. Sometimes, these two directions merge.
Most of Roger’s work in his small San Angelo shop is by commission, though speculative pieces are built for gallery exhibition or shows; some, to test new ideas or expand horizons. His goal is to produce fine furniture worthy of passing to heirs.