Garry Knox Bennett
October 8, 1934 - January 28, 2022
Resident of Oakland

Garry Knox Bennett left this world unexpectedly, during the night, in his art filled home above his studio in Oakland California on January 28, 2022.

Born To Katherine von Tagen and Robert Bennett in 1934, he was a third generation Alamedan. His exuberant personality and love for life was formed growing up in California in the 1940's where the wild west attitude made anything possible and everything was an adventure.

Garry trained in painting, drawing and sculpture at the California College of Arts and Crafts in the late 1950's. He recalled sitting in class, a cigarette in one hand a beer can on the table and a naked woman posing at the front of the classroom, his response was "I think I'm going to be an artist." In the 1960's he used his metal working skills to make roach clips, peace signs and jewelry. He found a ready market with the hippies descending on San Francisco, ultimately selling to premier head shops internationally and opening his own two stores.

Enormously successful, his company Squirkenworks, which thrived during the Summer of Love era, would serve as the financial springboard to pursuing his art career full time. Bennett blazed a trail through the 1970's, 80's, and 90's to become one of the most influential furniture makers of the studio furniture movement. His humor and opinionated views guided his artistic endeavors.

Ever the provocateur, he burst into woodworking discourse in 1979 with his "Nail Cabinet," a 6' tall exquisitely crafted display cabinet made from Paduak featuring a large bent nail which had been bludgeoned into the face of the piece right at eye level. A photo of it appeared in Fine Woodworking Magazine captioned "Decoration vs Desecration." Critic Arthur Danto praised the work calling it "philosophizing with a hammer."

Garry was internationally respected and known for his prolific boundary-busting designs, fearless use of color and unconventional materials. His clever interpretations of furniture, particularly chairs, was unparalleled. He received many honors including the award of Distinction from the Furniture Society, the James Renwick Alliance Master of the Medium Award and was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Craft Council. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Renwick Smithsonian, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Oakland Museum, the National Museum of Sweden, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and many others.

His attitude towards life was provocative, his love for Sylvia, his life mate and his helpmate was complete. Together, through making, collecting and promoting, they changed the way we think about the Modern Craft Movement. Garry Knox Bennett was a giant of a man, Master furniture maker and a joker extraordinaire. Behind a gruff exterior he was kindness and generosity incarnate. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife of 62 years, sons Josh (Alicia), Aaron (Felicia), daughter Jessica (David) Weaver, granddaughter Ariana and his newly acquired grandchildren Reverie, Noah, Tao and Joshua (Scohy).

Following his wishes there will be no formal service.