Local Craftsman Billy Sproul Goes Beyond Fabrication
Building Custom Furniture with Innovative Industrial Flair
Local artist Billy Sproul works in steel fabrication, woodworking, concrete, and found object sculpture. Originally from California, Sproul studied painting at art school, where he learned to look at all of the possibilities as a solution to a need. Asheville later became his home because it “felt like a place where artisans are respected and sought out.”
Billy Sproul has been a long-time friend of k2 studio, where his unique furniture designs have been shown. His metalwork is recognizable by its sleek industrial appearance – like this steel, concrete, and glass coffee table that has become a staple of our showroom. “In a world of faceless consumer options,” Sproul says, “local artists stand behind their work.”
As much as Billy Sproul enjoys “playing with materials to see how they react, manipulating and getting to know what I’m working with,” the development of Google Sketchup has “altered my mind in terms of design,” he says. Sketchup offers artists, craftsmen, and virtually anyone the ability to design a 3D image of their project. Sproul now has the ability to confront all the angles of his designs before cutting the first piece of steel. The beauty lies in the ability to trust your design.
Sproul got his start upcycling housewares for what he calls UpShift. With an interest in making functional pieces out of existing parts, he continued learning more about different materials, such as concrete. He sets up home base at his own SlabFab Studio, and currently offers consultations for custom furniture designs through k2 studio.
Previous designs by Billy Sproul featured at the studio include this rolling bar (above) and these gorgeous nesting tables on industrial airplane conveyor rollers. For both pieces, he utilized his talents in concrete (which he dyes as well!) and steel fabrication. Although he still dabbles in the “alchemy of concrete” as he calls it – “taking dry ingredients and watching them magically turn to stone when you add water,” he is moving away from the heavy side of his craft to focus on his metalwork.
Kim, owner of k2, and Billy Sproul have worked together for long time, collaborating to find solutions for specific spaces and nurturing face-to-face relationships with clients in need of custom-built furniture. When Kim asked Billy to work with her on a new project, he came by the studio to see what she had in mind. k2’s most popular sofa, the Chill sectional sits low and deep. A unique couch like this necessitates a special coffee table. “What do you see there?” Kim asked Sproul, who went to work re-imagining the space in the showroom or transferred into someone’s den.
Sproul’s first step for the coffee table design was to create the Chill sofa in Sketchup. From there he had the idea for a modular table in squares of glass and wood that you put together yourself. The result is this practical and modern table that stands 14 inches high, perfectly complementing the dimensions of the Chill sectional sofa. The Chill coffee table has a new place of honor nestled into the sofa on our showroom floor. It can be customized and built to any size. For more information on Billy Sproul, visit the website for SlabFab Studio or come by k2 and talk to us!