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Nick Terrel_2.jpg
Image courtesy of Nick Terrel

Artist of the Week: Nick Terrel

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating?
I’ve been creating and building in one way or another all my life. From taking scraps of wood from my father’s jobs sites to make something at home, to drawing and painting athletes that I looked up to when I was young. I took the jump to start my own woodworking business in 2014 and have been doing it full-time ever since.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Starting a project I usually pour myself a cup of coffee, turn on some music and envision what the piece would look like when it’s all done. I then figure out what reclaimed wood I am going to use, go through a whole milling process to get the wood all the same size and then color sort to use the natural colors and patinas. At that point I can finally start making. Each color I use is all the natural tones that the wood got over the last 100+ years of being in a home, building or barn. To me it’s all about the story of where the wood came from and how the natural patinas give it character without having to stain or paint.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I’ve always been inspired by the breath taking mountain views we have here in Washington State and that’s what made me design some mountains with reclaimed wood in the first place. Taking a morning walk on the local trails by my house with our dogs amongst the old growth cedar trees and lush green ferns always gets my creative juices following for the day.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I’ve always be drawn to nature and being in the outdoors away from the city and people.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
The first mountain range piece I ever created will always be special because my wife and I built it together. That piece really started my whole business and the mountain range design is what I have been most known for. It now hangs above our son, River’s crib.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Growing up I would work for my father’s construction company every summer where I learned the tools of the trade and to work with my hands. My father always taught me about putting out quality work and that good work takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. The skills and knowledge he’s taught me over the years about designing and building has given me that guidance to have a business of my own and do what I love for a living.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I co-own a retail and coffee shop in downtown Olympia called Ember Goods where my work can be viewed and purchased. As well as Moss, retail shop in downtown Port Angeles that always has a few pieces of mine available. Or on my website at

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
For Ember Goods our next step is to get our own coffee roaster and have it on my property here in Olympia. I am super excited to sketch out and build a shed for it by using reclaimed wood from around the state.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Being an owner of a coffee shop I always try new ways to have my coffee, but my go to is two shots over half teaspoon of brown sugar and oat milk.