I hope you all had a fantastic holiday! Here in southern New Jersey, we had a white Christmas night and continue to be snowed in! This weather is perfect for snuggling up in bed all day with a good book. So, I thought today would be an appropriate day to share with you my lovely new bedside accessories – tree stump tables!
Let me give you a little back story. A few months back, I read an article in one of the local papers about Bonnie and Abe Warren – a couple who owned and operated a woodworking business in Quinton, NJ. They specialize in highlighting the natural beauty of the wood and create incredibly unique and interesting pieces. I knew they would be exhibiting at the Wheaton Arts Festival in October so I made sure to check out their booth. Both Bonnie and Abe really knew how to work it at the festival – their fabulous woodworking was a sure hit and they really let their fun personalities come through.
I knew Bonnie and Abe’s creative style would fit with the Home Made house and, after contacting them with my request for tree stump tables, I was even more convinced that these tables would feel right at home with me here. The Warrens used Western red cedar, which is very lightweight, has medium color tones, and have a great story. The logs were high line poles in Atlantic and Cape May counties about forty years ago. Originally, they were harvested in Oregon and were standing before Louis and Clark reached the Pacific!
The woodpecker and carpenter bee holes were retained to showcase the natural beauty of these very old logs.
I just love these tables! And, what made these tables even more special is that Bonnie and Abe drove an hour and a half to deliver them and joined the Home Made work crew and me for dinner. Bonnie and Abe were so easy to work with and knowledgeable about their craft that I wanted to share a little more about their work with you here on the Home Made blog. So, here’s what Bonnie had to say in response to a few of my questions:
How long have you been in business?
“Abe has been working with wood in some aspect or another since childhood and is always sure to mention that he has sawdust in his veins. He was a tree house builder from way back and made use of various scraps and finds. He remembers pulling nails from old boards, straightening them and then using both the nails and boards again – a good recycler! Incidentally, this is much the way our house has come to be as well. . .
We joined forces to start our business about three years ago. I was supposed to be the organizer and bookkeeper with occassional help at and before shows. Clearly, I prefer my current role as shop assistant and co-designer as I’ve dropped too many balls to count on the organizer side! Abe has taught me much about wood, craftsmanship and design. We work great as a team with him as the designer and builder and me as the sander and finisher, although we both wear all hats.”
What’s your favorite aspects of being self-employed?
“The best part of being in business is spending time together. It is so much fun to work from home along with my best friend. It sounds corny, but it is really the truth. Another great aspect is sharing our work. We have met some fabulous people in our customers. It is really fun connecting with new people and hearing their stories – Home Made included!”
What’s gratifying about woodworking, in particular?
“The tables we made for you were your design suggestion (although we will probably make more). We often collaborate on designs for custom pieces. Much of the western red cedar from the lot used for your tree stump tables has defects that we embrace. Holes from the hardware they housed as high line poles, habitats of carpenter bees and gouges carved out by woodpeckers all add to the charm and character of the pieces.
All of our pieces feature some type of imperfection that we try to highlight and beautify be it cracks, holes or irregular shape. A straight, clean board has no place in our shop. We use sawmill cast-offs and branches either pruned or lost by storms to create benches, tables, shelves, serving trays, etc. Although we may try to create similar designs, due to the irregularity of the materials, everything is one of a kind.”
Where can we see more of your pieces and how can we get in touch with you?
“We show our work at art and craft shows in NJ, DE and PA so far. We are also available for custom design appointments that often begin with selecting the raw materials from our stacks. Setting up a website is in the plan, but for now you can contact us by phone (856) 935-8952 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Thanks so much, Bonnie and Abe! Hopefully, we’ll see you back here soon at Home Made’s Grand Opening!