"Revive to Survive!"

There's always the option to just throw it out, because it's ugly!  Sometimes that's the best thing to do, however with furniture made from solid wood, there's often a better choice.  I try to see potential in old pieces, weather it's the need for a simple sanding and re-finishing, or  if "further action is required".  This dresser I found at a local thrift shop, said to me: "further action required", but the bones were there, and perfectly set for a modern face lift.

Here's how she stood when I found her:

IMG_20140924_161237_BEFORE.jpg

Honestly, it's funky on its own right, but maybe not the kind of funk you want hanging around.  I had some cut offs of various wood veneers hanging around the shop, those bits you usually never get to use.  Turns out they were just the right size for re-facing drawers!  Luck so had it for me, the "carved" sections you see, were nothing but plastic moldings tacked on with nails.  This made them quite simple to remove, which could have easily gone the other way!  

 coming apart!

coming apart!

Something else I should add.....the wood grain you see in these "before" images is a faux finish!  If you look closely, you can see the patterns repeat.   Point is, there was no charming wood to reveal below this tired stain job.  Thus enters the veneer!  A lot of people associate veneer with "fake", but in actuality some very beautiful furniture in this world hosts veneer across the the surface.  Anyhoo, you can be the judge ...here is the latest Retrobound Revival....

 ...the wood grain travels from one drawer to the next....no repeats!  ;)

...the wood grain travels from one drawer to the next....no repeats!  ;)

  Found it's new home already with the lovely Miss Nguyen  , who served us up hand made Gyoza   on delivery!  Yuuumazing!

Found it's new home already with the lovely Miss Nguyen, who served us up hand made Gyoza on delivery!  Yuuumazing!

"Bamboo is the freshest!"

This year has been full of new challenges for me, from new places to new ideas and new products.  I've had ample opportunities to learn and try new things, and it hasn't hurt to have family alongside, both as inspiration and fuel to the fire!  Over the summer, a talented photographer, whom I have the privilege to call "sister", or "Lex", or (my new favorite) "sissy!", commissioned me to build some customized print boxes to use in her portrait business.  The exciting part for me, aside from actually getting paid to make stuff, was the challenge of meeting the expectation, and developing a product worthy of the gems that it would hold.   Here's are the results....

Oh, and did I mention how fun it is to use a real branding iron!!   My uncle's would laugh, having been raised as cowboys doing the real thing, but what can I say....  burnt bamboo is the freshest!

I'm looking forward to making many, many more of these for Alexis and her flourishing business.   And to any new comers, I will help you tie the bow on quality.   (couldn't resist)

"I hope you find this ~Aluminating~..."

As designers we constantly seek to innovate and to improve on the current model, which is an increasingly difficult task within the information super highway.  It seems every new idea has already been done.   So, I re-visited an old idea.  A table design from my student years.  The pull for me was the intent behind this original design: "be simple to manufacture, and reduce waste". 

 Shown here is the original prototype, as it sits, in my apartment

Shown here is the original prototype, as it sits, in my apartment

This table design, originally named "Design Blanket" or "Canvas", attracted me by it's blank slate attributes.  You take a piece of metal, bend it twice, and you have a table effectively....but you also have a surface that can look or be anything - print on it, laser cut it, veneer it, paint it, scratch it, use it!  And whatever you do to it, it will always be there as table, no legs to come loose, no parts to fall off, no rust.  All this coming from the underlying material.  Aluminum.  Boasting many desirable properties, not least of which is the fact it is nearly %100 recyclable.  That's value, and that's meaningful, especially in a world filling up with waste, and built in obsolescence.

 The bare "Aluminate" set, from slightly thicker material, and with a larger bend radius

The bare "Aluminate" set, from slightly thicker material, and with a larger bend radius

It's hard to appreciate the design until you get up close to use the table, and feel the smooth curved edge of the table hugging the arch of your foot while you lounge on the couch.  The reality is, the aluminum is almost entirely hidden, only it's strength is revealed.  The real treasure is in the finishing materials.  For this new set, a single sheet of wood veneer wraps the "canvas", and the grain of the wood becomes the painting.  It also warms the table to the touch.  Underneath the surface, as always, lays the inner beauty.  So often in life the magic is hidden "beneath the surface", which is the name of the bent plywood coffee table that both preceded and inspired this new design.

Without saying too much more, I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit of the story, and with any luck it inspires you to go out and create your mind's eye.   To all the other artist's and artisans out there pushing back against the machine, here's to creating pieces that will last generations, through harnessing of the material, a focus on beauty, and as always - keeping it simple!  

Enter Stage!

Every now and then some inspiration comes along to motivate you to do those things you want to do, but never make a priority.  Well, I found my shop mate revamping his side of the shop and shaping things up a little.  So, I decide to finally clear out my clutter for a dedicated staging area.  It's time to start capturing all the action.  Without further ado, here's the first stage, featuring the recently completed, and fully restored, vintage walnut desk.  The chair is not my design, but I'm lovin' it!   

SHOUT OUT:  Love to my 'GranAnne' for sponsoring the flooring, and helping me build my dreams.

Vintage Walnut Desk

Found a place to build my dreams

Send ahead for big things, and you will get big things.....like an enormous 1800sq.ft warehouse that I secured May 2014!  Now it's time to turn it into a place where dreams, ideas, and objects become one.   So far the family support is amazing...even tangible.  Just  produced my first product for my sister's blossoming photography business... a sandwich sign made of reclaimed fir, ceiling panels from an old home.  Making the stencil was labor-some, might do that differently next time, but overall the experience was great.  Best of all it left my sister with a big smile on here face.

The next product is a toss up...somewhere between revived garden bench such as you've never seen, and some funky streamlined shelves made of reclaimed cedar.  Stay tuned...