The Three Dot Brotherhood

From left, Julian Sanders, Devin Price, Andy Cline and Tyler Joersz of Three Dot Studios.

Lake Tahoe has always attracted those with big dreams and the imaginative bent to make them a reality. Yet for every C. F. McGlashan or Alexander Cushing there have been scores of unknowns who banded together to build something from nothing.

It’s common for Tahoe locals to start their own businesses on the side to supplement their incomes as they scrape out a living in this beautiful place. Still others dive in head first staking their livelihood and reputations on the line as they pursue their passions.

“I don’t think any of us would have artistic success if we weren’t in a group together. It’s people helping each other to succeed.”
– Andy Cline

One studio in King’s Beach is setting a model for strategic partnership in the world of craftsmanship. Hidden high on Speckled Avenue on the north end of the grid is a unique space known as Three Dot Studios.

Brothers in craft Andy Cline, Tyler Joersz and Devin Price first met at a Crystal Bay construction job site in 2006.

Ukuleles created by Tyde Music. | Courtesy Three Dot Studios

“Cline came in to build this crazy hand rail,” says Joersz. “He had a mohawk and his crew started by playing music that we actually liked. We’ve been building together ever since.”

When the Great Recession hit in 2007, Cline decided to abandon the struggling construction market and commit himself fully to his own furniture business that he had first started as a side gig seven years earlier.

“It was a desire I had to make a change,” he says. “I brought these guys along to that end.”

Together they went all in at Roundwood Furniture creating functional art using organic, rustic, recycled metals and exotic hardwoods.

“Ninety-nine percent of our materials are reclaimed from the Tahoe Basin via cabins, boat houses, piers and fences,” says Cline. “The intensity of the conditions on the lake are magnified in the wood. The wind, weather and sand increases the impact. Instead of going into the ground it gets turned into functional art where it has another life and a story that gets shared with others. Lake Tahoe brought 60 years of tattooing on it and the character of that piece is now brought into someone’s living space. There’s something that happens with that process that doesn’t happen with new wood that brings it to the next level.”

After a few years of furniture building with Cline, Joersz and Price noticed the piles of scrap wood building up outside of the shop. Rather than haul them to the dump, they began to fashion this usable material into musical instruments. Hence, Tyde Music was born in 2010.

Pieces created by Roundwood Furniture. | Courtesy Three Dot Studios

“Right out of the gate, our ukuleles were more popular that the typical luthier builds because of our artistic approach and the materials we use,” says Joersz. “We let Mother Nature speak to us in the build. We even try to find a way to use nail holes as sound portals. You get the beauty of wood and sound of the wood. The sound they make makes people happy.”

The team came up with the title and ellipsis logo of Three Dot Studios to cover both companies and Tyde Music now has its own luthiery workshop next to Roundwood Furniture. They most recently brought on digital artist Julian Sanders who specializes in computer-generated inlays. By sparring their various trades in a shared space, the artists are able to think outside the box and use atypical tools to accomplish pioneering designs in both furniture and luthiery.

“It’s really an artistic collaborative,” says Cline. “It stems from our experience with the creative process. It’s a constant blossoming of how one idea breeds more ideas. By the time we’re done with one design, we have three more designs that I am dying to try. Other people that see our work are then inspired. For us it’s a lot of telling the story of Mother Nature, but in reality, I don’t think any of us would have artistic success if we weren’t in a group together. It’s people helping each other to succeed.”|