Working with the inventory of wood we have here at Rustic Grain is really a treat for me as a designer. In the design process I constantly ask myself about my source material. Where did it come from? What was it like then? What stories does it have to tell? The saw marks are there, the old hand cut joinery is still visible, and the years of weathering can be seen and felt. How should all of that shape my design? Those are the elements of a challenge I love. The wood we use is steeped in history, not only the history of the people who built and used the structures our inventory came from, but also the physical history of the wood itself. A good deal of our stock comes from trees that were felled well over one hundred years ago. Many of those trees were likely seedlings around the time of the birth of this country.
Being able to give this wood a new life is exciting. My ongoing goal is to find designs that simultaneously respect the history of the wood, and are practical and contemporary. I am creating the next step in the life of our lumber. I am reworking it to fit in the modern world where it will acquire new marks, scars, and the influences of ongoing generations whether in the form of a new family dinning table or as the wall of a new restaurant. Unlike most large furniture manufactures that try to replicate the effects of time by distressing new wood, we let the history of our vintage material speak for itself. We allow the wood to contextualizing itself for the present.
In my new design position, I find myself asking questions that I have never had to confront before. How do I find a design that tells the story of the barn from which it came? How do I preserve the aged faces of a beam in our pieces that has the greatest impact on our clients? How do I change the scars and irregularities in our lumber from the wood’s destruction over time into a construction of the future.
Everyday I find new answers and of course, I ask new questions. I am excited to see where our wood will lead me.