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Quality Is Contagious: John Economaki & Bridge City Tool Works, 36 Years Through the Lens of Joe Felzman

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“Quality is Contagious” follows the relationship between John Economaki and Joe Felzman who met in their 20’s when John was a furniture designer/maker and continued when John began Bridge City Tool Works in 1983. They have been working together for almost 40 years.


Quality Is Contagious

Published by Museum of Contemporary Craft, this 12” square, 204 page coffee table sized book contains over 280 stunning images by award-winning photographer Joseph Felzman and a foreword by Jay Maisel.

In addition to the $39.00 standard hardbound version with dust jacket, we are also offering a signed, limited clothbound boxed collector’s edition for $59.00

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(Jacket Liner Notes by Marilyn Musick)

John Economaki is quite possibly the most innovative toolmaker of our time. While one might not know him on a first-name basis, fine woodworkers everywhere are well acquainted with his beautifully documented designs, all to be found at Bridge City Tool Works, the company he began more than 30 years ago.

To be sure, John Economaki is an artist who makes artists’ tools—tools that inspire the next project, the next challenge, the next exceptional three-dimensional piece, sustaining a satisfying continuum of creativity. But how he translated his art into a successful business is a worthy story for anyone who wishes to build a career with a craft. In Quality is Contagious: John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works, 36 Years Through the Lens of Joe Felzman, Economaki shares his learning curve with the perspective of a self-made man and the generosity of a teacher. He is proof positive that it’s not enough to have a talent; it’s knowing where to take it and how to get it there.

“Following your heart with reckless abandonment is completely acceptable if you are prepared to mow lawns for the rest of your life.” Point taken. Economaki never sugar-coats the struggles along his critical path, he simply leads by example, adding occasional pearls of wisdom.

One in particular, “Never skimp on the imagery serving as your ambassador to the world.” speaks to the creative collaboration Economaki has shared with Joe Felzman, a Hasselblad Masters Award-winning photographer, for more than three decades.

The two met in 1977, purely by chance trying to kick-start a photo drier in a rental darkroom. Casually observing that the photograph Economaki was trying to print was essentially worthless, Felzman’s brutal honesty struck a nerve. From that day forward, Joe Felzman would photograph every piece of furniture and every tool designed and engineered by John Economaki. With deft precision in cleverly imagined, expertly executed contexts, he raised the stakes for Economaki’s work, presenting his tools as the pieces of art they so clearly were.

Quality is contagious and it provides momentum—the kind that empowers two exceptionally talented men to flourish in their respective careers.

John Economaki is founder and president of Bridge City Tool Works, the heirloom toolmaking company he established in 1983. He lives in Portland, Oregon and travels far and wide for teaching engagements attended by aspiring woodworkers. Hasselblad Masters Award-winning photographer Joe Felzman would shoot every day, even if he weren’t in the business. His studio in Portland’s Pearl District is a welcoming retreat chock full of equipment and a serious inventory of interesting surfaces.

“Quality is Contagious” follows the relationship between John Economaki and Joe Felzman who met in their 20’s when John was a furniture designer/maker and continued when John began Bridge City Tool Works in 1983. They have been working together for almost 40 years.


Quality Is Contagious

Published by Museum of Contemporary Craft, this 12” square, 204 page coffee table sized book contains over 280 stunning images by award-winning photographer Joseph Felzman and a foreword by Jay Maisel.

In addition to the $39.00 standard hardbound version with dust jacket, we are also offering a signed, limited clothbound boxed collector’s edition for $59.00

Read More

Customer Reviews

Read Reviews | Write a review