Tom was born and educated in Lawrence Kansas where he received a BFA from the University of Kansas in Industrial Design in 1991. Having worked summers for a local concrete contractor he began laying the foundation of experimentation with materials and processes. Requiring only a few classes to graduate and having access to a well equipped design facilities Tom decided to research current trends in furniture outside of the prescribe curriculum and make a few pieces when he found his life's passion.
My goal out of college was grand; to work in as many fields to better understand different materials which to apply my own aesthetic". He noted there were not a great deal of intermixing differing mediums and either you were a woodworker or metal fabricator, not both, but that did not deter him in the least. He has since refined his skills in as many trades as in as many cities. In Atlanta, working with the crew of Thomsen LTD. an architectural millwork firm taught Tom how to take advantage of the 32mm metric system, their equipment and the European approach to cabinet making. In New Orleans working with the nationally renowned jeweler and designer Thomas Mann, Tom Diel headed up the sculpture department refining his metal working abilities along with gaining knowledge of the national craft market.
After being in New Orleans only a short time Tom started the Gallery Positive Space with three other artists. From this vehicle he took the plunge into self-employment. Three years later a job offer lured Tom to Chicago, with its attitude to art, architecture and design. As the foreman for Great Lakes Art Studio Tom further broadened his metal working knowledge. A move to the firm of V.A. Robinson Fine Metal Fabrication allowed Tom to work for a great small shop in Chicago. Working with the Robinson firm was a true collaborative effort between designer and craftsperson in a shop with young Chicago Art Institute grads pared with the likes of Stanley Tigerman and other well-known designers.
Finally in 2001 when his wife Lori was offered a position in the Art History Department at TCU in Fort Worth Texas Tom landed at Charles Alan Inc. a contract furniture company in their design and engineering department. In a ten year stint he became the head of design development and within that time he added to his skills CADD(computer aided design and drafting) and CAM (computer aided manufacturing) while implementing CNC (computer numeric control) of a Komo router focusing on nested based manufacturing of wood and plywood components. Whether on the prototyping or rendering a 3D model he is comfortable warring many hats. He also found the production environment is not that unlike the one-off world as they both incorporate theories of lean manufacturing aka Kazian or 'continuous improvement' with similar respect for time constraints and clients needs.
Yearning to return to his aesthetic and the world of one-off in July 2011 Tom resigned his position and opened a small shop on Vickery Blvd in Fort Worth and that where you will find him making his mini furniture edifices he has termed industrial chic.
"Give me your aesthetic, material list and budget and we will create something like noting else out there."
Photo outside my studio on Vickery Blvd 2013
Thanks Main Street Arts Festival for the boost into self employment
Best Emerging Artist 2011 (never having done a craft show or event alone!)
Best in Show 2013
Juror Award 2014
Merit Award 2017