Designer Profile: Katonah’s Shiela Hale

A Westchester artist and furniture deisgner shares her story.

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In Hale’s windowed outer studio, which she uses for carpentry and construction, are some of her latest creations. One of the new pieces she is working on, Lost and Found, features a table piled with books bursting with “book moths,” which exude an overwhelming sense of release and escape. The completed piece will join some of her other new works in the group show, Beyond the Book, opening in mid-September at the Silvermine Arts Center. Also in the outer studio are her new “cathedral tables.” Computer-fabricated in a design shop, the tables are made from pieces of painted Baltic birch plywood and have an architectural interior space designed to contain a tower of books or display objects. “They are meant to be completed by the books they hold,” she explains. 

In addition, Hale is working on reproducing her “level-headed shelf,” for which she received a US patent in 2001. The shelf comes with a level, which you attach to the wall. There are four flat, slotted pieces of wood that fit together into a box and then drop onto the level. It’s easy to assemble and to move.

“A lot of my designs start with my personal needs, and I find that the same things work for my personal life and for the public designs that I do,” says Hale. Now that she is able to have her pieces computer-fabricated, it will be easier to offer some of them for sale. “I’ve just got my first samples back. I guess you could think of them as being in beta.” 

Laura Joseph Mogil ( is a freelance writer residing in Briarcliff Manor. Her long history of collecting books has been put in a holding pattern ever since she bought a Kindle.

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