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Brian Murphy carving out an art scene in Escondido

ESCONDIDO — The art scene is coming back to life in Escondido and Brian Murphy couldn’t be happier!

“Escondido was at one time a real art community,” said Murphy. The art community suffered greatly during the recession. However, one sign that things are starting to turn around is the upcoming 8th Annual “WOOD:  A Furniture Show VIII.” This year’s event is scheduled to be the biggest and best exhibition of its kind yet. 

Murphy, of Murphy’s Fine Woodworking, in conjunction with the Escondido Art Partnership and members of the San Diego Fine Woodworking Association, has been hosting this event for eight years.  Murphy’s dream was to create a show similar in content but on a smaller scale as the wood show at the San Diego County Fair. The first show was put together with 10 to 15 local artists — all specialists in their woodcraft field.

Last year there was an estimated $100,000 worth of furniture and wood accessories represented in the show. This year will see even more.

Different than a typical Southern California art furniture show, this event features functional individually handcrafted furniture. The functionality adds to the aesthetic of the pieces.   

Last year’s grand prize was awarded to Paul Schurch of Santa Barbara for his game table and two chairs.

Many of the artists featured at the show commission, build and sell furniture for thousands of dollars all over the world. “This is the quality of the exhibits you will get to see here,” Murphy said.

Woodworkers from all over the area will be exhibiting. “We are getting response from all over,” Murphy said. “It’s exciting.” Others in last year’s show include Murphy, Amal McNew, Brian Carnett of Escondido, Jerry Beaudry of La Mesa, William Bardick of Temecula, Mark Giglio of Fallbrook, David Marr, Del Cover, Craig Thibodeau, Bob Stevenson, Patrick Edwards, Patrice Lejeune, Louis Plante, Paul Applequist and Dick Ugoretz of San Diego, and 10 other craftsmen.

The show will run from Jan. 13 through Feb. 4, 2017, and will kick off with an opening reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 14. “Stone Brewing is a major sponsor and we will have a few local wineries involved,” Murphy said of the event, which is put on by the Escondido Art Partnership the city’s Municipal Gallery.

The reception, which drew 400 people last year, is an opportunity for the public to meet the woodworking artists who will be featuring handcrafted furniture styles ranging from contemporary to traditional, as well as, veneering and marquetry. “There will be all types of wood, you will see everything,” Murphy said. “There will be a few pieces of ‘live edge’ trees as well.”

When he’s not planning this major Southern California woodworking event, Murphy is a custom furniture designer currently working on three dining tables and two Bow Arm Chairs, as well as an impressive 8-foot-wide China Buffet Cabinet, which will incorporate a granite top. This piece is still in the design stage. His specialty is the Arts & Crafts style.

“WOOD: A Furniture Show VIII” is free and open to the public at the Escondido Municipal Gallery at 262 E. Grand Ave. on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the exhibition visit 

To view Murphy’s Fine Woodworking pieces and learn more, visit

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