Owner of Art by Michael Forbes
Morehead City, NC
It isn’t often we get the opportunity to interview someone in their own home, but we were thrilled at the chance to sit down with Michael Forbes at his residence in Morehead City and grab an interview and tour of his workspace. Michael resides in the same house his Grandparents did years ago and is proud to be born and raised on Conchs Point, where he gains much of his nautical inspiration for his woodworking pieces. His style consists mainly of abstract wood art designs, and he’s notorious for his use of natural woods colors and grain patterns regularly in his work, using exotic wood from around the world.
Michaels love for all things wood spans back to his childhood. He recalls watching his uncles who were contractors building architecture and being fascinated by the way wood behaved, while also taking interest in the variety of species that existed. He began by building popsicle stick houses, and even took up wood whittling with his grandfather, which he laughingly said he had the scars to prove.
Although his fascination with wood always existed, Michael didn’t actively pursue his talent in woodworking until years later. As a Jack of all trades Michael worked in several industries in his adult life, owning his own commercial dive company, and even running his own yacht detailing business. His transition into woodworking didn’t fully begin until his mother, an artist herself, teamed with Michael to open an art gallery on Arendell Street in in downtown Morehead. It was here his mother sold her paintings and jewelry, while Michael began creating wooden artwork.
And it didn’t take long for Michael to see he was right where he needed to be. As he tapped into his full potential and put his time and energy into designing and creating, business took off. Most everything he produced would sell, and it didn’t take long for demand of commissioned pieces to rise as well. As his work evolved, he began creating a variety of products from wall hangings to countertops, and even live edge slabs. And because of his Native American background, a lot of his work is abstract in style. “The creative mind is difficult to understand” Michael said. “I like to think my work reflects the wildness in life itself. That combined with Michaels maritime heritage creates a sense of “nautical flare”, in his approach. One of his most popular designs being that of a fish, as he says the anatomy is easy for him to see and understand.
And Michael stives for perfection. “If I’m not proud of I’m not going to sell it or let it go out of my shop”, he said. He admitted that sometimes it takes longer for him to sketch out his designs and choose his wood, than it does to make the piece itself. A type of craftsmanship that seems to be a rare commodity in today’s day in age.
And when asked if he saw his hobby growing to this extent, Michael said he by no means did. What once was a hobby performed in his backyard shed, now has grown to span to a second shop directly across the street, where he houses an abundant collection of wood species and state of the art machinery.
You’d be shocked to know by looking at the art Michael produces, that he only started his craft not even 10 years ago. His work exemplifies craftsmanship and presents characteristics of local heritage that anyone would fall in love with. If you’d like to keep up with Michaels latest works, you can follow his Facebook page @ArtAndDesignWoodworksByMichealForbes. We look forward to continuing to follow his work in the future.