Napa craftsman offers bespoke wine presentation boxes and other unique items
NAPA, CALIFORNIA—After spending many years as a marine inspector and boat builder, Napa-based craftsman Kent Parker has launched an eponymous business offering fine woodworking services to “wine country” clients.
Parker specializes in custom-made presentation boxes for wine bottles of various sizes, and can create hand-crafted wine displays for tasting rooms and auctions. Because he is also a lapidary, experienced in working with natural stone, items may be inlaid with stone or pearl to create unique designs, as the client desires.
Parker takes much of his inspiration from the endless variety of patterns and shapes found in nature. “Working as an artist I get to tell the story, but the supporting cast is always nature.”
His boxes are made mainly of hardwoods, including cocobolo, Santos mahogany, zebrawood, canary wood, walnut, teak, ash, rosewood and many others. Parker gravitates toward those that have prominent grain patterns that he can incorporate into his designs. For more than 45 years, he has collected wood from prior boat rebuilding projects, other craftsmen, and gifts from friends.
Along with visual beauty, the tactile element plays a key role in Parker’s work. “Texture, imperfections, bumps, inlays that disturb the flow of wood grain—these are all invitations to touch,” he says. “I think it adds to the experience when you have the opportunity to engage more of your senses.”
When working with a client on a new design, Parker begins by asking about the person’s aspirations of the piece in terms of its function, size, shape and materials. Depending on the item, he may create a mock-up to help clients visualize how it will work in their environment.
“Building trust in a client is priceless,” Parker says, “and it is my goal that my honesty and skill will foster that connection.”