Robert Calabrese recognized at a very early age a certain creative side in himself. His interests were sketching, oil painting and later, pen/ink illustration and photography. And in his early teens, he discovered an appreciation for wood. He was fascinated by the look, the feel, the smell. He would find scraps from his Dad's shop and build scale model boats, houses or just about anything he could to fuel this need to create. When he was in high school, he found wood shop very rewarding and when one of the projects was to build a scale model of a house frame he knew he had found something very special.
When he graduated high school he was certain his calling was in woodworking, or at least in some creative capacity. When asked by an employment agency "What would you like to do?", he proudly declared "I want to be an artist!". The response he received was not encouraging. "You'll never make any money as an artist. How about Engineering?". Ok. So for the next 35 years he studied engineering, held positions as a draftsman, mechanical designer, production planner and most recently as a production manager. He didn't realize at the time how valuable all this experience would be later in life as he pursued his passion for woodworking..
It wasn't until a trip to Savannah, Georgia in 2007 that he started to feel that creative urge again. The art galleries, the incredible architecture in the historic district and the gorgeous surroundings. Savannah is well known for its historic squares, 22 of them, all precious jewels within the historic district. One of the squares he visited was the Whitefield Square, home to the Whitefield Square Gazebo. When he saw that gazebo, his only thought was to build a replica. For the next 4 months, working from photographs he had taken of the gazebo, he drew sketches, determined the correct proportions and built a scale model. The model consists of over 2,000 handmade pieces, including 600 miniature bricks that make up the floor and 500 shingles for the roof. Building that gazebo was a defining moment & in 2008 he founded Robert Edward Woodworking.
Today, Robert designs and builds furniture. Vibrant, colorful, eclectic, unusual, whimsical...All very appropriate words to describe his work. In recent years, the Art Deco & Art Nouveau styles have left him profoundly inspired to pursue more innovative designs with a significant artistic flair.