Robert was a young man from Nebraska who decided he didn’t want to be a dentist, he hitchhiked west to follow his dream of building furniture by hand. On arriving in California Robert Erickson met renowned poet Gary Snyder who invited the Nebraskan to spend a summer helping him build a house in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
Inflamed with idealism at the end of the project, Robert and other young, talented members of Snyder’s construction crew banded together to buy a large neighboring parcel. In 1973, Erickson built the first structure on the land: a woodshop that he has worked in ever since. Over the next four decades, he and his land partners have built their houses, families and lives on the piece of land they still share.
In 1978, Robert married Liese Greensfelder and a year later they had their only child. Tor grew up in and around the woodshop. In 2014 Tor became a full partner in the business with his parents. Today Erickson Woodworking builds some 75 pieces of furniture a year, mostly chairs and tables. They still build every piece by hand, one piece at a time, just like Robert did more than 40 years ago.