MEET OLIVIA OAK
-paige olivia dotsy
About Paige, Founder & Lead Woodworker
Paige Olivia Dotsy is a self-taught furniture maker. She got her start early, as her dad's 2nd hand, working on household projects at her Texas childhood home. He was glad to have a helper, She was excited to spend time with him. It was how they bonded.
In time passed, Paige worked in the beauty industry during the day and moonlighted in the woodshop in the evenings - honing her skills in the time-honored tradition. Paige has worked as a resident artist in Chicago. She has built custom pieces for commercial and residential clients across the country. She launched Olivia Oak in 2019 in NYC to give more people access to solid wood custom goods for their spaces.
A Letter from Paige
Woodworking gives me deep since of empowerment and accomplishment. It challenges my math brain, my problem solving brain and feeds my desire to create beautiful things. Often other woodworkers look puzzled the first time they see a feminine-presenting black woman buzzing about the shop with assurance and purpose. I smile and continue about my way knowing that I am expanding, or at least challenging, their views about who is a woodworker.
For me this craft has developed into an intentional act of independence. It is evidence that I, as all women, can thrive in spaces society has deemed that are not for us. Woodworking is not new to women, but like so many other parts of history our contributions have been minimized and overshadowed.
I did not start woodworking as a form of resistance. I did it because I was homesick living away from my family and making things with power tools was my form of feeling connected to them. It was healing. But now, understanding the craft’s underrepresentation, I view every piece I make as a step towards visibility for handmade furniture, women woodworkers and black women woodworkers.
My work is inspired by shapes and patterns I discover living in American cities. Over the last decade, I have had the opportunity to live in Dallas, Memphis, Chicago and New York. My own unintentional 'Great Migration'. The viaducts throughout Chicago, that suspend the ‘L’ train, have wild criss-crossing beams that create dynamic geometric patterns. The row homes in Brooklyn protected with metal gates, have mod and art-deco designs. The waffle iron pattern on the water holes, simply marked “city” are stunning in their own right. I pull from all these shapes when designing a piece.
My hope, thru Olivia Oak, is to continue to elevate the craft, like so many women and men before me and to give more people access to solid wood handmade furniture that can be treasured over generations.
Paige O. Dotsy