The vibrant spring blooms in my garden inspire a host of color palette ideas for the home. Some recent puttering coupled up salvia with dwarf azaleas, an analogous mix of fearless pinks and purples grounded by a range of vibrant new greens.Read More
Of all the words to paint the picture of the inspiration behind our fall launch, one word is at the forefront of our efforts. Sustainability steers us towards not only responsibly sourced materials, but to artisans who have fostered their craft here in America.
We've turned to our neighbors, makers of fine case goods, traditionally crafted upholstery, and artisan accessories; from their honest wares we've been inspired to create our autumn line. Our makers hail from all over the country but most are based on the east coast, where we have set the story of our collection.
Experience our launch of sustainably sourced and made in America products this fall.
By the time we left Market Square, we had not only found an exciting new furniture source, we had sat in on an impromptu lesson on craft and passion. The maker is John Strauss, who we had researched before coming to High Point for the spring market. We spent over an hour learning about the collections. John showed us a curious little doodle the French use to line up wood cuts for drawer fronts. It was no accident that we were spending this much quality time with one furniture maker.
Our goal is to kickstart an initiative to make our entire furniture offering both sustainable and American made. We found out about John's company while doing our research. Going into market with these standards in place was transformative. While we spent time with new resources - most of them artisans who chose to come to market in person to represent their lines - the rest of the attendees buzzed past with an air of confusion and agitation. They seemed shell-shocked by the vast quantities of vendors and they reminded me of myself in past years: hit with a sugar rush of goods rather than nourished by a quality experience.
We discovered so much of value in our research this market, as well as forging relationships with passionate craftspeople. The American furniture makers of today are maintaining our treasury of hardwoods through responsible harvesting. And our small-batch makers comply with the kind of workplace safety guidelines that are simply not present in most overseas markets. Most seductive to a designer's mind is the fact that our artisan resources thrive on customization, which allows us to offer more design options to our clients.
In recent decades there has been much talk about globalization. In the sense that we knit nations together through robust trade and that we find common humanity through shared resources and knowledge, the concept of globalization is very attractive. Yet we are deeply satisfied to opt out of doing trade with makers who are not sensitive to the needs of workers and the environment.
When I was younger, I was a fierce environmentalist. Then I drifted, seduced by an industry that seemed careless to the matter. When the determination to make changes in my company asserted itself, I knew the time had come to commit to the progressive values in business that I cherish personally. Looking inward has helped me to discover seeds waiting to sprout and so the next chapter is green.
Some companies have practiced responsible forestry for years, harvesting and replanting in turn to provide resources for future production, but now there are more offerings made of salvaged wood. This practice not only cuts down on waste that burdens landfills but it also lessens deforestation. Old wood has characteristics difficult to reproduce in virgin wood, such as raised grain and general weathering, so for those who love a lot of texture and a sense of age in their pieces, the benefits are obvious. Knowing you tread a little lighter on the planet feels nice, too.
One furniture designer I met with at market some years past opts to produce her line of rubberwood, a trend out of Asia. Rubber trees too mature for latex production used to be thrown on burn piles. To my understanding, an English furniture manufacturer a few decades ago began to experiment with this 'waste wood' and discovered that it was not only useful in furniture making, but took both painted and stained finishes beautifully. This extremely heavy species has a dense, attractive grain, and, once properly kiln-dried, is very consistent, meaning that splitting and warping are not an issue. The furnishings my new acquaintance designs and manufactures are not only stylish and durable, they follow this direction of taking some responsibility for our planetary health by reducing the rate of deforestation.