One of the things that sets Rosewalker Arts apart as a furniture maker is our experience in the restoration and conservation of furniture and decorative art objects. One of the most valuable tools of our trade is “compo” (composition ornament). Compo has been used since ancient Egypt, but really came into its own in England and America in the eighteenth century as a versatile and less expensive medium for the creation of originate architectural and decorative detailing. Compo has been used extensively in the manufacture of fireplace surrounds, crown mouldings, even picture frames.
The ability to make use of compo entails not only making the material itself (each practitioner’s recipe is a closely guarded secret!) but also creating precise moulds for each application. In the case of our Bella Loca tables, we use combo to craft the beaded apron detailing that is one of the options our clients can choose when curating their own table. The beading’s mould is hand-carved out of wood; the combo allows us to manage costs and lead time while still lending a beautiful, artisanal effect to the finished table.
Code. Commonly known as “a system of signals used to represent letters or numbers in transmitting messages.” Here at Rosewalker Arts, “coding” is a key component of the Bella Loca table design experience. Through our extensive work restoring our clients’ best-loved family heirlooms, we have had ample chance to think about the meaning of furniture and decorative art objects. Yes, there is an aesthetic element in the choosing and appreciating of fine objects. We like the way something looks.
But nothing rivals the piece that has a story attached to it. “I got it in Marbella.” “John and I found it under three inches of dust in a little antique shop in Paris.” “My Aunt Tilly bequeathed it to me.” Normally this kind of meaning is absent in a new piece of furniture you “found on sale.”
Rosewalker Arts wanted to devise a way in which you could not only choose from among proprietary design elements to curate a one-of-a-kind table, but also a way in which you could infuse meaning into your new piece. That’s where “coding” comes in. It might be an optional painted personal message (to be shared or hidden under the table as you see fit), a choice of stencil fabric for the painted stencil finish, or a paint color matched perfectly to a favorite piece of clothing. When you curate a Bella Loca table, you not only have a unique piece of furniture; you have a story to tell.
According to Travis Bradberry, in Inc.: “Experiences become a part of our identity. We are not our possessions, but we are the accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve been. Buying an Apple Watch isn’t going to change who you are; taking a break from work to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish most certainly will…”
While Rosewalker Arts isn’t offering you a guided tour of the Appalachian Trail, we are passionate about the experiential nature of collaborative table design. This is why we offer Bella Loca. Tables that are curated by you from a selection of original design elements, designed to fit perfectly into your environment, and even coded with your own “DNA.” Such a creative collaboration is possible, and it need only take a few short weeks to welcome home a table that has been and will continue to be an experience your entire family can share.
“Tedward” leaning against a Bella Loca latte table
“Every adult said it would never work. Why would anyone ever want to make their own stuffed animal?” This, according to Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, was the overall reaction to her idea of offering children and their parents a new process for buying that most popular of stuffed animals, the teddy bear. A process that involved not only choice, but –more importantly–meaning, bonding, and even soul-infusion.
When we began dreaming of an entire new way to buy a custom table, we ran into similar skepticism. After all, isn’t it easier — whether you’re a home owner or an interior designer — to go to a retail or wholesale outlet, choose something that’s “close enough” to what you’re looking for, and buy it? Or perhaps you could construct a table from some limited “custom” options online (never mind that this rarely results in a piece that is any more interesting than its “ready-to-wear” counterpart)?
Yes, these common approaches to buying a table may be easier. But are they engaging? Creative? Dare we say…magical?! One of the cornerstones of the Rosewalker Arts philosophy is collaboration. Collaboration within our studio, collaboration with our clients. Stay tuned over the coming days as we share more about Rosewalker‘s ultra-collaborative Bella Loca table design experience. We think you’ll find there is a way to get a table (or a bear) you’ll love from the bottom of your heart.
In 1994, the first year Richard & I bought a tree together, we instituted our own tradition. After we take the tree down, Richard cuts a chunk off the bottom, and crafts an ornament based on our overall impressions of the year just passed. (We moved to Tennessee in 1997.) We now have 24 ornaments to remind us of our journey together, and every Christmas we get to revisit each year and celebrate how far we’ve come!
Do you have any holiday traditions you’d care to share?!
We stumbled upon this cool place the other day whilst surfing the Web, and were blown away by their level of craftsmanship. They recently completed a huge gorilla made entirely out of donated spoons! The gorilla is scheduled on a tour of UK’s children’s hospitals — he should certainly make a lasting impression!
The Ironwork Centre also boasts falconry amongst its areas of interest — sounds like a great place to visit. We admire and aspire to the kind of breadth of talent and offerings these folks display.
British Ironwork Centre, Oswestry
Here at Rosewalker R&D, we’ve been playing around with some different media, and are quite taken with shagreen. We’re anticipating how we might use it in our tables and other custom furnishings! Such fascinating patterns…
For the past couple of years, we have been sharing some of our tips and techniques with you on our YouTube Channel, RosewalkerDesign. We’re excited to announce that we are developing a subscription-based service to be unveiled in 2015. Our intent is to share our proven approach to restoration and repair through videos and articles. Whether you’re a professional or a DIY-er, we think you’ll find something that will help you with your own projects.
Stay tuned for more information as we put the final touches on this new service. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our latest offering, Turning a Large Mahogany Pedestal.
Now that the holidays and their attendant festivities are over, we hope you find our “Post-Holiday Checklist” useful. We actually recommend our clients go through this checklist at least twice a year, if not at the change of every season – just to make sure everything’s still up to snuff. It’s a lot easier to address damage when it first occurs!
- Dining room chairs
Are they wobbly?
Broken, chipped, or chewed on*?
Any upholstery damage?
Any seat re-weaving necessary?
- Dining room table
Water or heat damage from glasses, serving dishes, etc.?
Leaf mechanism still functioning properly?
Still have enough leaves?
Damage / staining from dripped candlewax?
Edges broken, chipped or chewed on?
- Bureaus, sideboards, side tables, etc.
Holes / damage from decorations?
Damage from fire sparks?
Any burn marks from cigarettes, cigars, etc.?
Arms & legs broken, chipped, or chewed on?
- Decorative objects
Anything knocked over, dropped, or chipped?
Silver serving pieces or place settings need reconditioning?
*by domestic animals, small children, unruly adults…
If you are an ASID designer, we look forward to schmoozing with you at the upcoming Chapter Conference, during the Industry Partner Innovation Gallery. We hope to learn about your latest projects and what’s top-of-mind for you as you strive to exceed your clients’ expectations. We’d love for you to see examples of our restoration, and expect we’ll have some great discussions about strategic partnering and how we can best work together in the future!
If you’d like to tell us about any upcoming projects prior to the show (or if you won’t be at the show, but would like further information) fill out the contact form below. We’ll be in touch pronto! (Be sure to replace our name and email with your own.)