The workshop is a place. The location changes from time to time. It is also a state of mind. And that never changes.


The iris has long been associated with spirituality and wisdom. Creativity is a sustaining force for us, and the iris represents our belief in the intrinsic goodness in trying to create things that are useful and beautiful.

Most photos of the workshop and many of Charlie's tables and paintings are by Karen Altpeter.

Iris Design Workshop is a wonderful place where

Charlie Simonds’ Woodworking Projects

The dust of our saw

Has the fragrance of flowers

In a mountain breeze.

The breeze strews our sawdust blooms

From the sharp teeth of the saw.


Japanese print and poem

Oak corner chair with Danish cord seat, (front and back views) made by Charlie, inspired by Scottish architect Charles Rennie MacIntosh.


Below is a floor lantern Charlie made inspired by Japanese designs.

Recent project: Small hand-carved walnut and cherry table

Tables: Small tables made from various types of wood

Wooden boxes: Boxes inspired by Shaker candle boxes and Japanese tool boxes

Charlie Simonds’ Stained Glass

These are some of  the stained glass panels Charlie has made. Many were made to fit into wood cabinets. Others are works of art in their own right

Most recent project: Oak and walnut cabinet; the door has a stained glass panel of a common yellowthroat warbler and yellow irises.

Charlie Simonds’ Watercolors

Charlie, architect retired from The Kubala Washatko Architects, still paints with other artists there — as part of what they call “The Dumpster School” of painting. This painting of Charlie is by Tom Kubala.

Many of Charlie's paintings are framed with his own handmade wood frames.

Charlie's paintings have been exhibited in member shows at the Cedarburg Cultural  Center and the Museum of Wisconsin Arts. He often has work for sale at The Pink Llama Gallery in Cedarburg.

Charlie's work is often inspired by his travels to other countries — Japan, Spain, and Scotland — as well as the Wisconsin countryside.

Sher Schachameyer’s Mosaics

Recent project: Sher and Charlie worked together on this mosaic backsplash for their kitchen. Charlie did the carpentry and made the glass leaves; Sher created the design and made the ceramic geraniums and background. Below are photos of the piece in progress as well as the finished mosaic.

There's something satisfying about making mosaics — combining fragments of dishes, tiles, shells, crockery and glass into new designs, giving them new purpose, using techniques that have been used for thousands of years.

Interconnected Flowers: Inspired by folk art and lush gardens, exuberant blossoming and growth

Moonflowers: Like the ones in our garden

The top fish was inspired by ancient Roman mosaics; the bottom fish made of terracotta pots and tiles is unfinished in this photo.

Platterpusses: Mosaic faces on the backs of platters, inspired by the mosaics of Cleo Mussi

Mosaic Tabletop:  Charlie built a small table, and Sher made a mosaic inset for the top.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

Contact us


Iris Design Workshop is currently located in the NSAA Building, 1111 Broad Street, Grafton, Wisconsin