Gregg Perry grew up spending his summers in Cape May, NJ, where he learned an appreciation of architecture, furnishings and decorative arts. Little did he know this would come back and set the stage for his life work’s purpose.
Gregg received an undergraduate degree in pre-med and a graduate degree in Micro-Biology/Food Science. Working in the food experimental field with Campbell Soup out of college, he quickly learned that he preferred to work for himself and have his independence. Simultaneously, he had been dabbling in wood since his college days, building crude pine furniture and eventually opening a showroom in Mullica Hill, NJ. As his skills and study of 18th century period furniture increased, he fell out of love with the research field of food and decided to pursue furniture making full-time. While spending a year apprenticeship under a master in south Jersey, he opened his first furniture studio in Topton, PA. Perry trained and employed four workers for the next 18 years, quickly becoming the top tier of 18th century reproduction furniture makers in the country; producing a line of 24 pieces which was distributed through 12 major cities. He received accolades from major newspapers and shelter magazines including “Colonial Homes.”
In the beginning of 2000, when the economy was in a freefall in the decorative art field, Gregg decided to attend the National Watch and Clock Collector’s Association (NAWCC) in Columbia, PA, for a concentrated study of watch and clock making. The economy continued to falter into 2001. Gregg closed his studio and moved to Paris, France, where he began an adventure that would sound like a who’s who, enrolling in furniture and wooden artifact conservator’s program at the infamous École Boulle. This program was a master’s degree in combination with the Louvre Museum. Once he finished the program, Perry was the first and only American to achieve this honor to date. He continued to live in Paris, apprenticing under four of the main disciplines in the French restorer’s repertoire – gilding, marquetry, French polishing and sculpting; and also included an apprenticeship in clock restoration with the leading Parisian horologist. The following year, he continued short apprenticeships throughout Europe, in Venice and Florence, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, and extended stays in England at the British Horological Institute.
Today, Perry operates a unique studio in Alloway, NJ, that restores and conserves clocks, watches and their wooden cases. His scientific training in other areas has come back to serve him well in the field of scientific horology.
Gregg will instruct two classes this Spring; Introduction to Water Gilding on Saturday, April 30, and Art in Wood: Marquetry on Saturday, June 18.