ELIA BIZZARRI – (ä’lē-ə bi·zär·ë), 1984 — , American chairmaker.
Using traditional tools and techniques, Elia Bizzarri rives, hews, shaves, and turns elegant Windsor chairs in his workshop in central North Carolina. Known for the quality and elegance of his turning technique, his chairs reflect an integral understanding of the intrinsic qualities of maple, poplar, hickory, and oak.
Elia was featured building a Continuous Arm Rocking Chair on two episodes of Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” on PBS, where he demonstrated his highly-refined turning skills and chairmaking techniques. Elia regularly teaches at Roy Underhill’s school and other schools around the country.
North Carolina governor Beverly Purdue featured his chairs in the Celebrate NC Craft Exhibition at the Governor’s Mansion in the Fall of 2010.
“When I was 17, I started an apprenticeship with master chairmaker Curtis Buchanan. I slept on a cot in the loft of his shop, cooked on a portable burner, and walked my dirty dishes through the garden to the basement sink. Ours was a relationship built on trust, not on words or papers. For five years Jonesborough, TN, and more specifically Curtis’s shop, was my part-time home as I learned the chairmaking trade.
Chairs are my passion and my livelihood. Since 2002, I have built Windsor chairs and taught chairmaking full-time. I have never had a ‘real job.’ For this I am thankful.”
In 2013, Elia built his custom-designed shop five miles outside the historic village of Hillsborough, NC and 100 feet from his house. It is a chairmaker’s paradise: big windows to light the shop and a woodstove to heat it, oak floors for comfort and double-doors to let the outside in. Elia’s shop was featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine in the fall of 2015.