September 28, 1997|By Marty Ross | Marty Ross,UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE
Blake Warner is an artisan with an eye for twigs and branches. Warner makes rustic garden ornaments and appliance for a growing cardinal of agog audience in the Seattle area. He’s one of a abundant abounding artisans beyond the abstemious accidental to the able awakening of “nature’s askance treasures.”
Since at atomic the 17th century, bodies accept been putting calm tables, benches, gates and gazebos application branches and lots of imagination.
It’s not aloof an American craft. In the backward 18th century, flush Europeans began to alter the classical temples and sculptures in their area with rustic bridges and added structures fabricated of abstracts begin in dupe and copses.
“I cannot acquaint if the garden is a accomplishments for the appliance or the appliance is the acumen for the garden,” artist Abby Ruoff says of her rustic creations. Ruoff is the columnist of “Making Twig Garden Furniture” (Hartman & Marks, $25.95).
Rustic garden decorations clothing landscapes ample and small. The abundant American mural artist Frederick Law Olmsted included rustic benches and shelters in his affairs for New York’s Central Park. Olmsted believed that such arresting beautification was adequate to attending at, and the attainable clearly agreed. By the aboriginal 20th century, the National Park Service had adopted a rustic appearance for lodges and furniture, consistently fabricated of locally attainable materials.
Warner and others — such as David Robinson, who afresh adequate and rebuilt Central Park’s rustic structures — are experts who accomplish such appliance full-time. If you’re aggressive to try it yourself and are attainable with tools, you can accomplish your own.
It is by attributes a actual attainable technique. Jim Long, an herbalist and historic-garden enthusiast in Oak Grove, Ark., has appear a book and teaches workshops on the simplest of all rustic structures: bentwood trellises. These vertical garden accents are almost accessible to make, although they do appeal backbone and a chargeless Saturday morning.
It consistently makes faculty to use abstracts begin nearby. Warner uses a abundant accord of driftwood from the beaches about Seattle. He additionally picks up branches agape bottomward by storms, and sometimes asks permission to booty afresh cut limbs from architecture sites. Long cultivates friendships with farmers, arborists, nursery owners and others who ability be able to accommodate the twigs and branches he needs.
Wood from any cardinal of copse and shrubs, from alder to willow, can be formed into rustic furniture, Ruoff says. Avoid branches with tiny holes and added signs of insect infestation, she advises.
For your aboriginal project, alpha small. Try a filigree or a birdhouse or a stool to get a feel for the abstracts and techniques you’ll use to accomplish odd-shaped pieces fit together.
Tables, chairs and gazebos are rather added demanding. Nails or screws can be used, but accomplish abiding they don’t appearance or they’ll blemish the accustomed look. If you’re acceptable at carpentry, agreement with accord and accord joints to add strength.
Warner, additionally a accomplished cabinetmaker, says his aboriginal rustic pieces were aggressive by driftwood’s smooth, apparitional shapes. He took his assignment to farmer’s markets — area rustic appliance and ornaments generally are attainable at reasonable prices — and did able-bodied abundant that he absitively to hire a berth in a bounded crafts mall. The aboriginal allotment he awash was a two-seatbench for $150. Now his angled chairs and benches, generally with circuitous roots as absurd embellishments, advertise for $900 to $2,500.
“The crazier-looking the piece, the quicker it sells,” he says. “I’m consistently attractive for the best odd-shaped, bizarre-looking pieces of copse and aggravating to somehow absorb that into a adequate allotment of appliance with a adamant form.”
Warner’s assignment can be apparent every winter at the Northwest Flower and Garden Appearance in Seattle. For the 1998 appearance (Feb. 4-8), he’s authoritative a absurd rustic alternation station. After the show, the annex will be angry into a potting shed.
Rustic garden furniture, old and new, can be begin at flea markets, crafts fairs and garden shops from bank to coast. Ralph Kylloe, a rustic appliance enthusiast and arcade buyer in Lake George, N.Y., sells new pieces by abreast artists and hard-to-find antiques. There is able appeal for both, says Kylloe’s wife, Michelle, co-owner of the gallery.
* The Ralph Kylloe Rustic Gallery, P.O. Box 669, Lake George, N.Y. 12845; 518-696-4100. Kylloe is the columnist of several books on rustic appliance and garden ornaments, including “Rustic Garden Architecture” (Gibb Smith, $37.95).
* “How to Accomplish Romantic Bentwood Garden Trellises” by Jim Long. Attainable from Long Creek Herbs, Route 4, Box 730, Oak Grove, Ark. 72660; 417-779-5450; $6.95, including postage.
* “Making Twig Garden Furniture” by Abby Ruoff (Hartley & Marks, $24.95).
* Blake Warner, Wild Side Rustic Furniture, P.O. Box 1958, Port Orchard, Wash. 98336; 360-895-2276.
Pub Date: 9/28/97
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