Submitted by blythe on Sat, 03/24/2012 - 07:57
Rustic furniture and organic forms have always fascinated me. You can find examples of rustic furniture throughout history and all over the world. Tyically rustic furniture was made from whatever materials were on hand or in good supply. Organic forms made into something functional can be bad or good but they always have a unique personality and a story to tell. I worked hard at it for a number of years only to realize how difficult it is to do it well. Tracking down and finding your materials in the woods is the easy part; assembling them into something that you can be proud of is another matter. Organic shapes are difficult to work with using conventional cabinetry methods - and the saying "you can't fight mother nature" was probably invented by a frustrated furniture maker.
Laura Spector is a great example of a designer who can do this well walking the line between rustic and refined. Her work is influenced more by the British decorative arts of 18th century, than the rustic style of the Adirondacks . She somehow conveys the whimsy of natural forms while also suggesting wrought iron.
She hunts the forests of Western Connecticut stalking the Oriental Bittersweet vine. The plant was imported from europe in the 19th century as a decorative plant, only to turn invasive and kill many trees and shrubs by strangulation. She literally has saved hundreds of trees and carried off tons of vines in the process of gathering materials, keeping park landscapes healthy in the process.
You could really classify Laura's work as outdoor art which also serves as a functional purpose but many of her pieces could be used indoors as well.
Below are a few examples of her work. The first photo is of the artist at home in her Connecticut studio.
An example of one of her Bitterroot benches
these giant spheres are available in many sizes. these are five, four and three feet in diameter
Sources: Laura Spector Design; New York Times