Eric Sheffield was born in 1960 and has enjoyed working with wood since early childhood.  His entry into the world of professional woodworking occurred at the tender age of five, with the unexpected sale of one of his early works (he’s still got those four dollars).  Business was slow for the next decade, but at the age of sixteen he received his first large-scale furniture commission and hasn’t looked back since.

High school shop classes helped Eric refine his technique and opened his eyes to design possibilities.  By his sophomore year he had exhausted the standard curriculum and ventured off into independent study.  Industrial Arts competitions offered a challenge to the young woodworker, which could not be resisted.  Two, yearlong projects culminated in two state-level grand prizes and the grand prize in the senior division of Stanley Tools National Woodworking Contest.  During this time Eric’s work was also featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine, and its Design Book Two.

The next five years found Eric studying Industrial Engineering at the University of Michigan, and working summers at various woodworking companies as well as undertaking independent commissions.  While working on his engineering degree, Eric also found time for numerous courses in art, design, drafting, architecture, and art history (thus the five years).   Two influential semesters were spent studying renaissance art and architecture at the University’s program in Florence, Italy.

Following graduation with honors, Eric chose not to follow the path of professional engineering, and instead continued with woodworking.  A unique opportunity presented itself when a patron he had met in Italy offered to support his work for a year.  Eric took full advantage of the offer and designed and constructed a diverse collection of furniture pieces.

Still not ready to settle down, Eric joined the Peace Corps and spent the next two years teaching woodworking at a high school in Lesotho, southern Africa.  While there he met his future wife, Elise, who was also a Peace Corps volunteer.  Following their service, the two traveled overland from Cape Town to Casablanca on their journey home.

Returning to the states, Eric was fortunate to find some immediate commission work.  Eventually he followed Elise to the Cambridge, Massachusetts area and found work with one of the top custom cabinet and architectural millwork firms in Boston.

In 1989 the two returned to Rockbridge County, Virginia to be married on the front lawn of the farm where Elise grew up.  A year later, upon completion of Elise’s studies in Cambridge, they came back for good and started Eric Sheffield & Co.  Since then many beautiful cabinets and two sturdy daughters have been produced.

When not working in the shop, Eric has been active in the Rockbridge community, volunteering at his church and Mountain View Elementary School as well as serving on several boards, commissions, and committees.  His major volunteer effort since 1999 has been the founding and ongoing support of Hull’s Angels, operators of Hull’s Drive-In Theatre, “America’s only community-owned, non-profit, drive-in theatre.”


“My goal is to translate your dreams into wood… so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

© Eric Sheffield & Company.  All Rights Reserved.