Category Archives: March 2014

Setting the Bench

Mountain Wooing Bench
Mountain Wooing Bench

Benches: technically, a long seat for more than one person (merriam-webster.com).  We used to see them in many public areas where people congregated for various reasons: train stations, medical waiting rooms, and at the library.  It seems that most places have done away with benches in favor of chairs. While chairs are great (we make those too!), benches communicate something entirely different – a willingness to be closer to another.

Garden Art Bench, Walnut Seat
Garden Art Bench, Walnut Seat

In today’s world, benches are being used more in personal space areas: decks, patios, and in gardens.  A bench is a pleasant place to stop for a bit to rest, to take in the view of the world, to reflect, to make decisions, to have a private conversation.  The design of benches varies greatly from very basic and functional to matching virtually any decor.

Some of our handcrafted benches are rustic and made without a back, and can also be used as coffee

Bench without back
Bench without back

tables in a seating arrangement.  Others are made with very artistically designed backs that allow them to be both functional as well as art in your garden, or on the deck or patio.  We have also made benches that sit low-to-the-ground, especially perfect for around a firepit.

Turtle Dove Bench
Turtle Dove Bench

Benches are quite special in the way they bring people together, and we like that!

The Stick-a-rondack: Our Version of the Adirondack

Stick-a-rondack Chair
Stick-a-rondack Chair

Did you know that the Adirondack chair used to have a different name and was first created in 1903?

These chairs were originally called Westport chairs as they were created for a vacation home in Westport, New York by Thomas Lee.  He wanted to create a chair that would work well on the hillsides of the Adirondack region and that was comfortable, durable and stable.

Our handcrafted Stickwork version of the Adirondack style chair carries on the characteristics of being comfortable, durable and stable.

Stickarondack Chair, Walnut sticks
Stickarondack Chair, Walnut sticks

We have maintained the classic angled seat for comfort, we utilize great materials such as Locust and Walnut to provide the durability.  The stability of the chairs comes from both the overall brilliant original design and is enhanced by the strength of the screws we use to assemble the chairs.

The Stick-a-rondack is our creative interpretation of the Adirondack chair.  Because of the natural materials we use, each chair is a one-of-a-kind item.  The branches used for the framework of our chairs are evaluated for the most desirable placement to provide the strongest support for the rest of the chair.

Walnut Slab Stick-a-rondack Chair
Walnut Slab Stick-a-rondack Chair

In addition, the branches are fitted together to create unique and pleasing designs whenever and where ever possible.

The seats and backs of our Stick-a-rondacks have been crafted with a variety of designs.  We have used slabs hand cut from trees, hand-hewn materials, as well as all sticks.

Stick-a-rondack made from hand-hewn materials
Stick-a-rondack made from hand-hewn materials

Perhaps one of the often overlooked parts of a typical chair, the backs of our Stick-a-rondacks are given specific artistic detail.  Every chair has a unique application of branches, creating one-of-a-kind Stickwork furniture art.

View of back,  Stick-a-rondack
View of back,
Stick-a-rondack

After 110 years, this style of chair is still one of the most popular.  The ability to utilize the basic design coupled with unique interpretations certainly makes it one of our most popular items and one of our personal favorites!

Spring is the Season for Stickwork Arbors…

Stickwork Arbor entering garden with gate
Stickwork Arbor entering garden with gate
Stickwork Arbor for home entry
Stickwork Arbor for home entry

We love arbors!  They add so much to any garden or entry: depth, texture, defined space.  Arbors are a great way to accentuate the entry to your home or to your garden.  They are truly a form of garden art.

Strictly defined, by thefreedictionary.com, arbors are: A shady resting place in a garden or park, often made of rustic work or latticework on which plants, such as climbing shrubs or vines, are grown.  Rustic is certainly one word to describe our handcrafted stickwork arbors!  We use all natural materials, predominately logs and branches from downed trees that we salvage.

Our arbors can be made to almost any size.  We can customize our artisan arbors to include a seat or bench, and possibly side tables.  The roof of the arbors can be gabled or with a hip roof design for larger arbors.  The possibilities are only limited by imagination.

Stickwork Arbor for entry with gate
Stickwork Arbor for entry with gate

Spring is an excellent time of year to get an arbor installed.  This assures that the structure is in place for climbing plants prior to the growing season.  Alternatively, installations in summer and fall allow for hanging plants as well as the perfect backdrop for potted plants.

Building an arbor in our shop
Building an arbor in our shop

A shop on Etsy.com?

We’ve had a few people wonder, “Why do you have a shop on Etsy.com when you have your own website?”

When we started our furniture business, it was really a hobby.  What that meant was that we really didn’t have any idea how we wanted to go about getting the word out about our products.  We had several ideas for local events where we could get our handmade stickwork furniture out in the public eye.

I had heard of Etsy.com from a friend, and wondered if they even had a category for larger items like furniture.  Obviously, they did.  For an investment of time to set up a shop and a very small fee for creating listings,it seemed we could have an avenue for sharing photos and descriptions for our items with the world.  Our first sale on Etsy was a garden gate that shipped 1/2 way across the country.

A gate we sold through our Etsy.com shop
A gate we sold through our Etsy.com shop

The second reason for our shop on Etsy is that we have found customers who know it, trust it.  They love shopping on Etsy and feel secure knowing that their payments will reach the shop owners, and there are avenues for communication with the sellers.  We have had several customers who have met us, seen our items in real life, then turned to our Etsy shop to continue to think about the handcrafted items they had seen while making their decisions.

We love having our shop on Etsy, and invite you to come browse!  www.etsy.com/shop/artisticsticks

 

 

Springing Ahead

This term, “Springing Ahead” is usually used to refer to the upcoming time change for most parts of the country.  In our shop, it has a different meaning (but don’t forget to change your clocks this weekend anyway!)

We are looking forward to spring just like (most) everyone else.  Our Spring brings a change in activity.  All winter Jeff has been making slabs – those long rustic boards – in preparation for making items that have horizontal surfaces, such as desks and baker’s racks, side tables and sometimes he uses these slabs for the seats and backs of chairs.

Hand Made Boards Drying
Hand Made Boards Drying

Once they are cut, he then places them in stacks, “stickering” them, so that they can dry evenly with optimum air flow all around them.

Many of our slabs have been cut from Black Locust and Honey Locust.  Slabs really show off the beautiful grain within the wood.

Honey Locust Slabs Cut and Ready to Dry
Honey Locust Slabs
Cut and Ready to Dry

So, in Spring, we change gears from the cutting and drying of the slabs to the planning of our event calendar as well as getting into the shop to start creating more stickwork furniture.  It has been a while since he made a rocker, so Jeff says that is one item on his to-do list.

Spring also brings invitations and applications for events to our mailbox.  We are sorting through the invitations for 2014.  We are excited to see the variety of events to consider. Now we have to make the decisions!

What is that Wood? Black Walnut

One of the first woods we had available to us when we relocated to North Central Ohio was Black Walnut.  As it turned out, the property where we live has several Black Walnut trees and there were literally dozens of branches on the ground as the result of high winds.  As we collected the branches, we decided what to keep to try using in our stickwork furniture.

“Black walnut is highly prized for its dark-colored, true heartwood. It is heavy and strong, yet easily split and worked. Walnut wood has historically been used for gunstocks, furniture, flooring, paddles”, states Wikipedia.org.  We love the rich color the wood develops as it is exposed to the air and elements.

Stickarondack Chair, Walnut sticks
Stickarondack Chair, Walnut sticks

One of our first pieces was what we like to call a Stickarondack – essentially it is an Adirondack style chair made using all smaller sticks and branches for the seat and back of the chair.  The chair has a very rustic look and feel to it, making it fit quite well into any rustic decor, whether it be cabin, mountain, or primitive.  Because it is based on the Adirondack style chair, it also works quite well in a cottage or beach setting.

Walnut Adirondack Chair
Walnut Adirondack Chair

We also wanted to use some of the Black Walnut to make slabs and see what the same style chair would look like using those slabs in place of the sticks.  As it turns out, slabs work quite well!  They give the chair a “beefier” presence.  Somehow, it just seemed right to add some antlers to this chair!

Another of our first pieces was a side table which used narrow slabs cut from some of those branches.  The slabs provided both a smooth, level surface for the table, as well as some unique character because of the way the slabs fit together.

Black Walnut Side Table
Black Walnut Side Table

Black Walnut is a great wood for our handcrafted, artisan Stickwork Furniture!