The Workbench

A slightly sawdust filled space for the musings and ramblings of a couple of arboreal eccentrics and their faithful hounds.

Investing in sentiment, investing in craftsmanship

Let me tell you a story.

His name is Captain William Postal; her name is Celia Dyer. They are newlyweds, and since his job takes him away from home often, he wants his wedding present to her to be something that is truly personal, truly theirs. His choice? A bed. And quite a bed it turned out to be! Four large, square pillars support a weighty canopy, topping out at more than 7 feet high and frame a headboard of ornate carved scrolls, egg and dart trimmed panels, and a whimsical ovoidal cutout; all this is expertly rendered in of-the-moment, highly figured Mahogany veneer. She is a grand-dame of a bed.

These were my great great grandparents, and the year was 1850.

Now, my partner Michael and I sleep in a bed that has belonged to three different Celias: myself, my grandmother and my great great grandmother. There is irony in two furniture makers sleeping in a wooden bed they didn’t build. As a piece of furniture, the bed couldn’t really be further from the type of piece we design and build, but we couldn’t imagine not having her in our home. Why?

After much debate in this household, Michael and I settled on the reason. It’s that magic combination of sentiment and craftsmanship. It feels right, and it’s stood up to the passage of time.

At the confluence of Earth Day (22nd) and Arbor Day (24th), it seems only appropriate that each of us considers this idea of longevity as we contemplate cohabiting with wood. This material, that as a tree quite literally nourishes us, and as wood lives on to provide for so many sustaining needs, from the spoon you stir your soup with to the fire that keeps you warm, from the house that offers you shelter to the chair you are sitting upon.

Whatever the style, whatever the vintage, the tree that your furniture is made of is older than you are. This idea remains our focus on as we arrange or juxtapose old and new pieces in our own home as well as when we design pieces for a client. We are always working with a tree first, and this is a great responsibility.

So, when it comes to wood, invest in objects you love, objects built to last. Find pieces that do justice to a tree. Wood has a living warmth that draws you in. Search in your home for the traits wood heralds: tactility, authenticity, structure, durability, individuality.

In our quite quixotic 1938 Art Deco, Eastern European built home in the Hudson Valley, Celia Dyer Postal’s Mahogany bed—though abbreviated of her crown by another Celia so as to fit through a doorway—is kept company with two floating Maple nightstands of our own design, a refurbished 1960s painted dresser, and an adopted 8-year-old Greyhound, who thinks of the bed as her own. It’s a composition in tried and true wood that fits us to perfection.

Harry and Samson go shopping with the Times in tow

We loved seeing interior designer and friend Harry Heissmann (with pup Samson) in the Timesas they hit the shops for Christmas!

Southern Living

I just wanted to give a big thanks to Southern Living Magazine. If you look at this months issue under the ‘Made by Southern Hands’ section, there may be a familiar looking lamp…table lamps

Spoleto Auction

Tonight is the Spoleto Auction! I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to donate this piece for the live auction…hopefully all goes well!

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ICFF

I just posted a response to an article on ICFF this year on Flavorwire…the article is interesting and encouraging to me…see what you think!

Spoleto Festival…

I’m proud to say that the Spoleto Festival is currently going on here in Charleston. So far everything I’ve seen has been very good…with still many performances yet to attend.

I’ve also been lucky to team up with Spoleto and Cindy Gaetke of Ellington to create a donor room with bar and lounge in the Guillard Auditorium where many performances are held. Attached are a couple of really low res photos of it.

This room is also serving as a preview of 10 new pieces that will soon be added to the catalog for fall. If you would like to see any of them in person, feel free to email me, or, poke your head into the Jessamine room at the Guillard Auditorium in the next week….

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Coastal Community Foundation

I just wanted to say a big thanks to the Costal Community Foundation for helping to create the Artist’s Expansion Grants in South Carolina and an equally big thanks for deeming myself and my work worthy of receiving one. The help is much appreciated!

PKN Presentation…

I finally got the video from Pecha Kucha night, please mind my name being posted at the beginning…I’m still trying to figure out how to get rid of it!

Class with Montessori School…

Just last week I was given the opportunity to give a talk to one of the classes at Trinity Montessori School in Charleston. It was a great time, the students were all between 7 and 9 and had been studying plants and trees for the week before I came in. We had a great time talking, looking at different pieces or wood, taking a walk to identify the characteristics of trees, and then drawing and writing about what we found. I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did…

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Fig Tree…

I also wanted to share the purchasing and potting of my first Fig Tree (it’s a turkish brown fig). It’s that time of the year!

Isn’t it adorable?

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