When a tree experiences environmental stress, it can develop a strange-looking knotty outgrowth called a burl. Scientists call it a deformity, but Mike Giblin sees only its beauty and potential. His job as an artist—with burl and all wood—is to preserve and magnify that beauty, using the wood’s interesting shape or its ring pattern as his guide. 

“The wood tells me what to make it,” Mike said. “I check the grain. I ‘listen’ to it to determine how best to transform a raw piece of wood into something that is truly one of a kind.”

Mike uses wood from locally sourced trees—walnut, Osage orange, maple, cherry, sycamore, mulberry—to craft beautiful furniture, hollow forms, and heritage art pieces that families can enjoy for generations. 

Mike’s passion for working with wood harkens back to his childhood, when a 9-year-old boy filled his Radio Flyer wagon with scrap lumber and hauled it to his Cleveland-area home. He used that wood to build a clubhouse, complete with windows and a bunkbed. 

As a young man, he attended carpentry school where he earned high honors and worked his way to become a master craftsman. Since 2000, Mike has worked professionally as a carpenter, a master craftsman, and a woodworker. His high-end custom work has been on display in the Short North Home and Garden Tour and on HGTV’s “House Hunters” television show. As a lifelong Ohio State fan, he is proud to have worked on former OSU President E. Gordon Gee’s office. 

Today, Mike lives with his wife, Erica, and their two children in Worthington, Ohio, where he creates unique home furnishings in his studio. You can follow Mike on Instagram to watch him skillfully transform each piece into a treasured heirloom.