Cyrus and Nona Coron

Written by Wayne Michael Reich Category: Arts Issue: July 2015
Group Free

“The wood is alive, and you have to respect the material,” Cyrus Coron, 39, rhapsodizes as he walks through his garage workshop, where an assemblage of reclaimed timber and scavenged ephemera awaits transformation into a work of obsessive perfection.

A true purist, Coron constructs vintage Southwest-styled furniture sans mechanical fasteners or glues, and his technique of selectively burning and polishing the chosen material compensates for a calculated lack of commercial dyes – he prefers the wood speak for itself.

Whether it’s old-growth Cuban mahogany sourced from an abandoned rail car moldering in the high desert, or antique doors from a burned-out bar in Salt Lake City, the approach is the same – the material is milled so that Coron can see its “true character,” taking into account natural flaws like knotholes and grain pattern, which he then incorporates seamlessly into the finished work.

PHM0715PFARTS02His living room contains several examples of his craft, including an 8-foot-long dining table constructed with dowels, where Nona, his wife and artistic partner of 15 years, sits quietly surrounded by her specialty – authentic cow skulls carved with designs inspired by Native American folk art as well as Spanish Colonial leatherwork.

Created freestyle, Nona’s modern scrimshaw work and hand-carved whorls blend beautifully with Cyrus’ finishing touch of leather-wrapped (and fire-polished) horns.

When it comes to their overall design ethic, Cyrus readily admits Nona is the “more practical” of the pair. When he says he prefers to work large, she reminds him their chosen material of old wood is a finite resource, to which Cyrus replies: “It’s the material that fascinates us... it’s beyond me, as I can only illuminate what’s there... waiting to be discovered.”

See more of the Corons’ work at