CHAJO: Chanin Cook & Jonathan Edie
Chajo is a collaborative effort. Jon and Chanin have their hands in every aspect of every piece in the shop, from thumbnail sketch to final finishing. Chanin is taken with an object’s design and state-of-being, while Jon is obsessed with the actual making of whatever is on the boards. Their shared passion for handcrafted functional forms -- and the joy they derive from creating new work -- is the glue that binds them.
Jon was born in Manhattan and lived there and northern New Jersey, before moving outside Philadelphia. His maternal grandparents were Swiss-German, and instilled a strong "work with your hands" ethic, which his mother lovingly passed along. Luckily, Jon liked it (most of the time) and was good at it....
After earning a BA at Williams College, Jon worked construction on St Thomas and played drums in a band in Boston. When the group disbanded, Jon went back for his masters in environmental education. The Lesley College/Audubon Center grad program had Jon traversing the country for two years on a modified school bus. After completing his degree at the Audubon Center in Santa Fe, Jon moved to San Francisco – for Chanin and the left coast lifestyle. He found work with a local recycler and continued tinkering with his growing cache of tools.
Chanin was born in the Bay Area but moved East shortly after, eventually settling outside Philadelphia. Aside from sports and student politics, Chanin spent much time digging up and identifying old stuff at an abandoned farmsite behind her parents property. So it was no surprisie when she earned her degree in Archeology at the University of Virginia.
Desiring a different pace of life, Chanin drove West until she reached San Francisco. There she began a career in marketing that spanned a dozen years. Somewhere in there she took time off to travel Latin America. Back in SF, Chanin haunted local flea markets and salvageyards and began creating functional (and some utterly nonfunctional!) works. It was her creative outlet to let off day job steam.By the time she and Jon re-met back in Philadelphia, she had "built" her first table from found objects.
Chajo: The Beginning
That first table sparked Chanin and Jon’s collaboration. Jon’s woodworking skills were obvious, but the pair needed to learn metalwork to go beyond using salvaged goods. So they enrolled in a welding seminar in Oakland and thus began their journey in all things metal. As their designs grew in scale, Jon and Chanin realized they needed a space larger than their SF apartment and thus made the move north to Napa.
Chajo was formally started in August 1998 when the pair set-up a “real” wood, metal and stone shop in Napa. Chanin's archaeological background (and love of all things rock) led Chajo to use fossilized and mineral materials, in combination with woods and metals. With actual work to show, Jon and Chanin hit the fine art show circuit, and were honored with acceptance in to some of the nation’s best – Coral Gables, Scottsdale Arts Festival, Ann Arbor Street Fair, Sausalito Art Festival. The shows helped promote Chajo and generate cash flow, both very necessary.
Since then, the shop moved a couple times around Napa; they adopted a quasi-shop-dog named Grover (he prefers the goosedown comforter to wood dust); and Chajo continued to grow and evolve. Chanin and Jon had the opportunity to work on some really cool projects with equally cool clients. Several galleries took interest and began representing Chajo work. Interior designers and architects discovered the duo, and began specifying work for residential and commercial projects.
And Chajo’s "style" has evolved as the partners honed their skills, enabling them to articulate in form what they see in their heads. Working in mixed media (metal, wood and stone) is a continuous learning process. Largely self-taught in all disciplines, Jon and Chanin find that each project brings new challenges that test and expand their capabilities.
Now more than a decade later, Chajo is best-known for clean, contemporary forms, as well as the use of striking materials. Our desire is that our work enhance an environment with character and grace. The uncluttered feel of our designs is intentional – it enables our work to co-exist equally with antiques and ultra modern. We still do all the woodwork, metalwork and stonework in our Napa Valley shop, and enjoy the collaborative creative process with clients and designers, as it enables us to build work that fits the parameters of each individual project.
Nearly three years ago we produced our best creation to date, our daughter Quinn. Her presence has enhanced so many aspects of our lives, and no doubt is reflected in our current work, which we feel is our best to date --- with much more to come. Thank you for your interest in who we are and what we do. We would enjoy hearing from you, so please feel free to call us at (707) 257-3676 or email us email@example.com.
Jury Prize for “Originality and Excellence”,
Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (July 2002)
Jury Prize for “Best of 3D Mixed Media”,
Des Moines Arts Festival (June 2003)
Peer Selection Award, Plaza Arts Festival
(Kansas City, Sept 2003)
Merit Award, Pt. Clinton Art Festival (August 2004)
Award of Excellence, Saratoga Art Show (May 2006)
3-D Mixed Media - Jury Award,
Scottsdale Arts Festival (March 2008)
Mayor’s Award, Los Altos Rotary Show, (May 2008)
Scottsdale Arts Festival (2008 & 2009)
‘The Right Stuff” by The Furniture Society 2002
California Design (San Francisco) 2004
Annual Show 2004, Highlight Gallery, Mendocino, Calif.
Museum of Fine Craft (San Francisco) – Holiday Show 2004
Sunset Idea House - Truckee, Calif., Summer/Fall 2007
Western Visions, Fall 2007, National Museum of Wildlife Art
Materials Hard & Soft 2008, Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, Texas
Western Visions, 2008, National Museum of Wildlife Art
ID Magazine; Palm Desert Magazine; Diablo Magazine; Living West; The Crafts Report; Timber Homes; California Home & Design; Colorado Homes; Carmel Magazine; San Francisco Chronicle; Fine Furniture International; Furniture Style; Southwest Art; Contract Magazine; Hospitality Design; Western Interiors & Design; Sunset Magazine; 500 Chairs (Lark Books, 2008); Western Art & Architecture Magazine.