The latest installment in a series of artisan profiles by contributing writer Emerald Atkins.
The ancient Greek poets were said to be inspired by the Muses, nine goddesses who were the source of all art.
Visitors to the whyrHymer Store in Los Angeles may well believe that a tenth Muse is informing Brandon & Sundeep Morrison on their own creations. The couple & their work have been featured in California Home & Design and California Homes. The style of their lighting & furniture is solid yet elegant, evoking the philosophy of the early 20th century Arts & Crafts movement yet speaking in its own distinct, thoroughly modern voice.
At present the couple hand-craft about forty pieces a year, which work ranges from beds, tables, cabinets, and seating – including a rocking chair that somehow embodies the spirit of a hot rod – to lighting of truly innovative design.
Creativity is essential to the heart of whyrHymer. The Morrisons are fully involved in all aspects of their business, from conceptual design to marketing, from the ancient act of sanding wood to the employment of software and website design. They also produce & edit films to promote their work. Says Brandon, “I love hitting the end of a chisel as much as I love the click of my mouse.”
All furniture is made from eco-friendly hardwoods & finishes, including exotic woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. They also use FSC-certified sheet-goods, Kirei Board, Bamboo, and Wheat Board. Finishes include low-voc plant based oils & varnishes. Lampshades are variously made from recycled aluminum or glass, linen, rice paper, shoji material, hemp, silk, or from a translucent wood veneer gleaned from sustainable sources. The furniture is built to last generations, lovingly hand-crafted with mortise & tenon, dovetail, and dowel reinforced joinery.
As they feel themselves blessed, the Morrisons strive to “give back” not only by observing a green building philosophy but also by donating a portion of each sale price to a charitable organization. Clients are asked to match this gift.
“Being creative for us is about how much we can leave behind,” said Brandon. “My wife and I have no formal training in furniture design or construction. We have learned what you see by making mistakes and moving on.”
The Morrisons’ business, like their lives, is a testament to innovation and what can accomplished when life is lived with passion & gratitude. When he first moved to Los Angeles, Brandon had little idea of what waited for him. Yet, by being open to change and mindful of opportunity, his present life took form: a family, a business that allows the fullest expression of his creativity, and work (one could say “art”) that brings pleasure to others. The latter has a spirit that matches its maker.
“The ‘things’ I sell are not necessities for sure,” he said. “But what I try to bring to my work is an awareness of self that transcends my actual work and what that provides to my clients. I hope that my awareness that has come from pursuing the non standard life will inspire someone else, or at best, have them feel that they are supporting someone who has their best interest at heart.”
The whyrHymer Store is located on 138 N. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036. (Hours Mon-Sat 10-5.) It can be seen on their website. Brandon & Sundeep may be reached by phone at 323-402-0250 (home/shop) 323-964-9900 (store).