Monday, August 9, 2010

Second Life


Yesterday the New York Times business section featured an article called "Finding New Life (and Profit) in Doomed Trees" about Meyer Wells, a small business which makes custom furniture from trees naturally downed in and around Seattle. It's worth reading on both a business level and on a cool-product level.
[Meyer Wells], started four years ago, bears all the markers that would seem to point toward collapse and extinction in a recessionary economy. It’s founded on idealism and emotion. It’s riddled with huge and unavoidable inefficiencies. And it tenders a high-end product that asks buyers to take risks and have faith.
“People who buy furniture here are adventurers,” says Mr. Meyer. “They see the tree and get to be part of the process. They have to have an adventurous spirit, they have to be patient, and they have to trust. There’s an element of risk.”
He suddenly becomes a tour guide to a whole geography embedded in the wood — “islands” and “cathedrals” in the grain. “I’m looking to see how the grain of one board flows into the next so that the composition feels harmonious,” he says.
If there’s one rule in the shop, it’s this: Respect the tree’s narrative — including the chapters about its hard urban life. Mr. Meyer once found a steel snippet embedded in a beautiful cherry slab, perhaps a remnant of a nail used to hammer a “lost cat” sign to the tree. He left it in place, a piece of the story.
Read the rest at and visit Meyer Wells blog here.

1 comment:

Ann said...

They're work is beautiful - the firm I was working for did a tour a couple years back to pick out the conference tables. GORGEOUS.