biography

Robb Helmkamp makes contemporary furniture, sculpture and accessories, made of various types of wood, some pieces with metal accents. Soft contours, gentle curves and subtle angles provide gentle flow and movement, creating a classic contemporary look. Helmkamp primarily uses woods native to the Carolinas including walnut, cherry, maple, oak and ash. By juxtaposing wood and metal, light and dark tones, smooth and rough textures he uses furniture as a canvas for expression.

As a military brat, Helmkamp was raised all over the country by a career U.S. Navy father and an artist mother, and grew up with constant exposure to both the arts and the military. Helmkamp’s mother has been a ceramic artist most of my life and I helped out in her pottery studio and at art shows during my childhood. Conversely, he would go to military air shows and weekend naval ship tours with my father. Helmkamp’s work is continually inspired and informed by both the arts and crafts and military history and design. Throughout his childhood Helmkamp was continuously making… designing and building tree forts, skate ramps and hammering together a wide range of projects.

After earning a degree in Public Relations at WVU in Morgantown, West Virginia Helmkamp began to have doubts about a career working behind a desk and began trying to figure out how to build a career out of making things with his hands. Shortly after moving to North Carolina in 2001 Helmkamp started taking woodworking classes and was soon enrolled at Haywood Community College, in Clyde, NC, as a student in their Professional Crafts: Woodworking program. While in school, at Haywood, Helmkamp started his own woodworking business, Kampstudio.

Helmkamp’s goal with Kampstudio has always been to make furniture of the highest quality and to create pieces which have never seen or experienced before. Always striving for his work to be thoroughly influenced and informed by the past, Helmkamp creates original and unique woodworking. Taking the time to finely craft each piece of furniture in his studio Helmkamp uses a mix of modern machinery and traditional hand tools. Currently Helmkamp works in a studio next to his house, in a quiet neighborhood, in North Charleston, South Carolina.

At Kampstudio Helmkamp makes furniture and accessories, including tables (of all sizes), benches, boxes, cutting boards, built-ins, one-of-a-kind pieces and many more items. Helmkamp creates pieces for exhibitions and regularly accepts commissions and custom work requests. Most of Helmkamp’s woodworking is finished with a hand rubbed oil and varnish mixture. All of Kampstudio’s food accessories, including cutting boards, are finished with a food-safe beeswax based conditioner.

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Short Biography
FURNISHED exhibition at SECCA in Winston-Salem, NC
July 2019 – Jan 2020

Robb Helmkamp is a furniture maker and sculptor who lives and works in North Charleston, SC. Raised all over the U.S. by a career Navy father and a clay artist mother, Helmkamp grew up surrounded by both art and crafts & military history and design. He makes furniture, sculpture and accessories using various domestic woods and metal. By juxtaposing wood and metal, light and dark tones, smooth and rough textures, his furniture is a canvas for expression. Helmkamp creates furniture and sculpture which ask questions and make statements about our culture, war, and the never ending political avalanche we all live in. Various private collections and galleries, including Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC display his work. Helmkamp has also created a variety of pieces for exhibitions and regularly accepts commissions.

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