Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Touch With Nature

I am a huge fan of the unique.

This is why I love the things that come out of Etsy, vintage finds and limited editions (my favorite words!). But it is also what I look for when adding things to my home.

Yes, I have some furniture from Pottery Barn and my crystal is Lismore (possibly Waterford's most popular pattern) but I get really excited when I see true artisan work. Items that are truly crafted - made with love and a skill that is only acquired by time and experience.

I want to bring a piece of that home with me. I want to hold on to it. I want to have something that showcases that skill for posterity. And I want to encourage others to do the same because that is how we ensure that such skills will keep on.

We go to the Farmer's Market near our town almost every weekend. From Spring to Fall there are amazing vendors. We're also lucky to be surrounded and friends with some very talented people. Next to them (okay just in general) we're total untalented shlubs! Several times a year the farmer's market has a craft show. At one of the earlier shows I met a very lovely older gentleman named Bob Barrett who does amazing hand turned and carved wooden pieces. I instantly feel in love with his work and he is the main vendor we look for each time.

The first time I met him I bought this gorgeous Cherry wood bowl.

The bowl has an amazing color to it and is the perfect size for the pile of fruit that we keep on the counter. I also like how the color warms up our mainly black and white kitchen.

What's also great is the satiny smoothness of this piece. You just want to run your hands all over it. It just glows.

The next time Bob was at the show I bought these two pieces. The first is a large bowl about 6" deep made of red cedar. It's hard to tell from the flash the true depth of color that this piece has but it is just gorgeous in person.

If you enlarge the image you can really see where Bob's skill shines through. He works with each piece of wood and takes into account the unique attributes that it has and plays them up. He preserves the integrity of the wood... in this instance you can see where the edge of the bowl is almost paper thin. At the thickest point the wood is about 1/4". It just amazes me!

We keep this bowl on the mantle in the library where it definitely has a pride of place.

The other piece we have is this Burl Oak Compote.

It would be hard to say I have a favorite but I am seriously in love with this. I just adore the pattern of the wood. When I saw it in his booth I had to have it. The shape of the piece is great too. We keep it out on display as art but it's very functional as well. I like to use it for holding candy during movie nights!

Our new favorite wedding gift is one of Bob's pieces. I think there is a lot of symbolism inherent in giving one of his pieces. Unique, sturdy, functional but beautiful, filled with love and care. What better gift or good wishes could you give?

Bob will also do special orders if you ask him. If you have something in mind - a shape or a kind of wood, he will search around until he finds it for you and then will make it as close to your specs as possible. You don't even have to pay for it up front because he'll sell it regardless. He carves his signature and the date into the underside of each piece. I predict that years from now you see people collecting his work.

Mr. Barrett doesn't have a website but I have his phone number. Drop me an email or leave a comment and I'll get it to you.

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