Stronger Together is a series of entrepreneur profiles created by Baltimore Small for Made In Baltimore. Each profile tells a story of innovation and collaboration in the face of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  This story first appeared in Bmore Art on July 5th 2021.

“It really helps me to have a safe place to collaborate with someone who I trust- someone to be vulnerable with, and to share my ideas with.”

Lawrence: Darryl and I initially met at the Open Works maker-space in Baltimore. Darryl had the micro-studio right across from mine. I was aware of Darryl’s fine woodwork prior to meeting him. I always admired his finished products. We began talking about our craft back then. That was about three years ago.

Darryl: I was really drawn to Lawrence’s ingenuity so we struck up a conversation. From the outset, we started collaborating. When I was exhibiting my furniture at the American Craft Council show in Baltimore, Lawrence built and designed all of my displays. That was a huge help for me because I’m not always thinking about the display and packaging of my pieces as practically as Lawrence. 

Lawrence: I think Darryl’s strong suit is the finishing of the piece. When you see a piece of wood that Darryl has finished, it’s amazing. You can feel the time and care that he puts into his work. Such a fine finished product is something that I always aspire to.

Darryl: We recently partnered up and formed Ase’ Studios. Capitalizing from each other’s strengths is what our collaboration is all about. We look forward to continuing making different furniture and furnishings that blend both of our styles and approaches to design. 

It really helps me to have a safe place to collaborate with someone who I trust- someone to be vulnerable with, and to share my ideas with. One of the beauties of this partnership is that we tend to balance each other’s work energy. I don’t have to take myself as seriously as when I was on my own. I can be a bit high-strung at times. Lawrence has a much more laid-back approach which sort of evens me out. 

We will always have our separate identities as artists- we are two different people, but our synergy helps propel our creativity. 

Lawrence: One of the challenges of being a maker is having the space for people to come and see our work. Our new space in Old Town allows us to both create, and showcase our work within the same building. 

We plan on having open studio sessions throughout the week so people can come and check out what we are working on. We’re also planning to have a showroom on weekend afternoons. 

Darryl: The inspiration for our showroom is to shed light on our work- and if someone sees something they like, they can purchase it directly from the showroom. 

Our new space is also in a building with other artists which naturally lends to creativity- spontaneous creativity. There is a wonderful interconnectedness that Baltimoreans have, especially in the maker’s community. Unlike other cities with five or six degrees of separation, there’s maybe two to three degrees of separation in Baltimore. Folks thrive from the creative energy shared in a wonderful way that I haven’t seen anywhere else.”

Interview and Photography by Jon Bregel via @BaltimoreSmall