burnHeart is Brendan Bernhardt Gaffney, a furnituremaker, design, writer and educator based in Covington, Ky.

He grew up in the northeast, where he learned woodworking and a passion for creativity from his father. At Skidmore College, where Brendan created and pioneered his own major, Sound, he worked as an engineer and builder with Peter Edwards (aka Casper Electronics), as lead recording engineer and supervisor at Skidmore College’s new $50 million Arthur Zankel Music Center, as a student and protégé of Flip Phillips in the Neuroscience department of Skidmore College, technical director of Skidmore College’s radio station, WSPN, and an extra pair of hands in his father’s woodshop.

After college, Brendan moved to San Diego to attend the prestigious Computer Music program at UCSD, where he earned a Master of Arts in Music. Studying under Miller Puckette, Tamara Smyth and Tom Erbe, Brendan studied improvised music, instrument design, signal processing and acoustics. He played saxophone in the Improvisation Enemble, was a Teaching and Research Assistant in the Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts Major, and worked on projects with other creative minds in the graduate program.

Outside his academic and creative practices, Brendan also worked with Fab Lab San Diego to teach younger students the art of design and fabrication. His work built upon techniques used by his coworkers at the Fab Lab and other great minds in youth education in new technologies to develop curricula that invite young makers to begin their lifelong journey in designing, building and using their own homemade inventions.

From San Diego, Brendan moved to the Mendocino Coast of California, to attend the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking program. Working to hone techniques taught to him by his cabinetmaker father, his work revolved around the use of local wood to create novel, durable furniture, handmade wooden and metal tools and musical instruments.

Today he continues to make, design and use durable tools, furniture and instruments. After working at Popular Woodworking under Megan Fitzpatrick, he is now working on a book for Lost Art Press, building custom furniture, writing and photographing his experiences and teaching classes on woodworking and toolmaking.

Résumé (as of Aug 2018)


Photo by Pheobe Kuo