Patrick Dewenter thinks a lot about why he creates things. When he builds a desk, for instance, he’s creating a functional object, but he’s also intentionally celebrating nature. “You can probably tell in a lot of my work,” he says, “that I have such a deep admiration and love for nature and what it offers, from resources to just natural beauty, that led me toward the products I make.”
After design school at Sinclair Community College and Northern Kentucky University, an internship at a design agency in Asheville, North Carolina, and stints at local creative firms like LPK, where he cut his teeth in the world of package design, the Dayton native was looking to diversify. Dewenter is a graphic designer, screen printer, woodworker, welder, and all-around “student for life” always in search of the next creative experience, so he channeled his pursuit of knowledge and skill into Shorthand Craftsman.
The shop is a one-man studio out of Dewenter’s Camp Springs, Kentucky, garage, where he turns out geometric brass key rings, bottle openers, leather wallets, and myriad other useful things. He’ll also create a custom table or light fixture. But his current focus is on made-to-order frames. “I embrace a level of simplicity in the framing that I do,” Dewenter says. “I could make fancy frames, but I like to use really beautiful quality wood like hickory, walnut, cherry, sometimes really high-quality pine, and I let the wood’s beauty sing.” The frames are indeed lovely, demonstrating that embellishment doesn’t always equal beauty—and that good quality doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. “Framing stands out as one of those things that’s fun, people love it, and it still feels so good to do that work from a craftsman standpoint,” he says.
Despite the assortment of product categories, every item in Dewenter’s shop has one thing in common: It’s well-made, on purpose. “I just love when you take the time to address the detail, because those things add up to something that’s just really well thought out and beautiful,” he says. “Having the eye of a designer, and someone who is thinking about the nuances and the details, definitely trickles into the things that I build, because I’m always trying to do things at a finer level.”