By Laura Goldstein
It may seem like a surprising dichotomy of interests, but Vancouver’s former Freestyle BMX World Champion (9 medals) explains that his métier designing and making furniture shares similar attributes to playing a professional sport.
“You know, they both take an incredibly high level of attention to master, patience and a passion to succeed,” says Jay Miron from his East-end woodworking studio.
Credited with inventing over 30 BMX bike tricks over his international sports career in the 90s including the double back-flip, Jay Miron opened MacNeil Bikes in Vancouver while still competing. He retired from BMX competition in 2005 after multiple concussions and broken bones and later sold MacNeil Bikes in 2010. “Sitting at a desk was never for me and during that time I always thought about woodworking,” he confides.
After studying with renowned cabinetmaker and craftsman, Robert VanNorman at Inside Passage Workshop on the Sunshine coast, Miron took a year to track down vintage wood-working machines made by General which he discovered online and then refurbished for his studio.
Miron’s Orca Lounge Chairs & Ottoman first showcased at Address and at the IDS Vancouver Interior Design Show. “They were inspired by a visit I made to Tanzania ten years ago,” says Miron. “I sat in an African chief’s chair that was incredibly comfortable. This is my mid-century modern, Westcoast interpretation, all handmade then upholstered in velvet. A friend actually thought the curves resembled the skeleton of an Orca.”
An exotic pinwheel comes to mind when viewing The Kern Table for which Miron integrated five different wood species juxtaposing colours and textures: walnut, wenge, padauk and two kinds of maple. “I saw a paint drop and splatter and that gave me the initial idea,” Miron laughs.
The Harp Spindle Bed (queen size) in cherry wood boasts a curvaceous headboard that mimics the strings of the instrument and was a tour de force for Jay Miron.
Reminiscing about the traditional French Drafting Table he designed and crafted, Miron was excited because his client “still draws using a real piece of paper!” The made-to-measure piece in walnut with elegant brass pins for adjusting rings that work from 25,30 & 35 degrees, were heights specified by his client.
At first glance, The Patricia Coffee Table resembles a low table with internal bookshelf covered with a gingham tablecloth. Look closer and you realize that’s not fabric but all meticulously matched parquetry in cherry and padauk woods – over 300 squares – that took Miron months to construct.
The final touch and a ritual for Miron upon finishing each piece of furniture is screwing in his brass engraved signature plate.
“I build my bespoke furniture pieces like they did 100 years ago and that’s why furniture lasted and was passed down from generation to generation. I hope some of my pieces will be too!”
Jay Miron’s work can be found at switzercultcreative.com.