Artisan Profile – Janet Thomas of Lark Textile Design

The second in a series of artisan profiles by contributing writer Emerald Atkins.

100 years ago, before “sustainability” became a concept, before the word “recycling” even existed, a traditional American craft embodied both: rag rugs, the art of creating rugs from worn clothing & cast-off textiles.   Across the country housewives melded thrift and creativity, beauty and usefulness into functional works of art.

At Lark Textile Design owner/designer Janet Thomas builds on this legacy.  In her hands, the unintended sustainably of yesteryear has become a directed goal in the production of custom hand-woven and constructed rugs.

“Although I use new materials now for my rugs,” she says, “they are industry 2nds and cast offs.  Perfectly good for walking on but not good enough for your window coverings or upholstery.  I am a scavenger at heart and that mindset makes it really easy to fit into the context of today’s sustainability concerns.” Read the rest of this entry »

Landfill Is Benched – SAGE in Design

One man’s trash…

…has become another man’s business.

SAGE in Design’s president and founder, David Lasher, has taken recycling to a sophisticated new level with the Raul Bench.  With a seat constructed from a mixture of 100% recycled newsprint, old corrugated cardboard and agricultural fibers, all sitting on a base made of 89.5% recycled steel, this is furniture with serious sustainability in mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Forging Ahead – Bill More

What do you get when you take the most recycled material in the United States*, and pair it with one of the most rapidly renewable materials in the world?

If you are furniture designer Bill More, you get beautiful tables like this…

Constructed using steel and bamboo, the Ventralis coffee table is one of two striking table designs available through More’s Forged Elements furniture line.

Says More:

“Since I started designing and building furniture over ten years ago I have been conscious of my environmental impact. I always search for used materials and recycled ingredients to work with. Unfortunately, when you need to produce a consistent, high quality product, this is often a great challenge. So when I inevitably have to use new materials, my conscience makes me feel uneasy. I see bamboo and steel as lesser evils, since even new steel is created from a good percentage of recycled content and bamboo grows like a weed. I am constantly searching for new ways to lessen my impact as a craftsman.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Wrap-up – 5/21/10

Just a quick little wrap up this week, with links to some great posts on ICFF (which I really hope to attend next year).

But first, don’t these kids look completely thrilled with their handy work?

Image via Build Blog

From Build Blog, the same blog that brought you the great overview of couch cushion architecture, comes a critical analysis of cardboard forts.  Truly a must read.

So, on to ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair), which took place last weekend in New York.

First, here is a nice overview of some of the standout pieces seen at the fair. (inhabitat)

Apparently there was some terrific student work too.  (Treehugger)

And lastly, a whole lot of cork showed up in all kinds of ways at ICFF this year.  Maybe I was too hasty when I said I thought this was going ot be the year of cardboard! (Treehugger)

That’s it for now.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Dyeing for a Drink of Water – Air Dye

Water use in the textile industry is massive – as in trillions of gallons massive.  Hundreds of gallons of water are required to dye even small amounts of fabric, and that water then needs extensive filtration to become drinkable again.  With potable water becoming a scarcer and scarcer commodity, how do we save more water for us, and still sustain the textile industry?  Well, why not take water out of the equation altogether…

The U.S. based company Air Dye has managed to do exactly that, by creating a new technology that can dye fabric without using a single drop of water!  This is an amazing advancement, and one we desperately need in the textile industry.  There is one problem though – other than getting the word out and encouraging fabric companies to give it a try… Read the rest of this entry »

Design on a “Dime” – Splinterworks

In the process of wandering hither and yon across the internet I regularly come across interesting and unique cabinetry designs.   It’s not often that something makes me stop and think, “wow”.  However, that’s exactly what I thought upon seeing the “Dime”, from Splinterworks.

Known for their curvilinear kitchens, UK based Splinterworks takes roundness to a new level with the “Dime” cabinet.  Hidden behind rosewood doors that swing open on an axis, you will find a curved marble countertop, a shelf, and a large drawer, as well as cleverly concealed electrical outlets.  This piece would make a jaw dropping coffee bar wouldn’t it?  It could also be used for a prep area, a work space, a desk or, with a little modification, a really snazzy wine bar.

Read the rest of this entry »

Artisan Profile – Bronwyn Simons of Terra Home

I’m very pleased to welcome Emerald Atkins as a contributing blogger for TIR.  A talented writer, jewelry maker and mother, Emerald will be providing us with a series of in-depth profiles of some of the wonderful artisans involved in sustainable furnishings and crafts.   To begin the series, she has interviewed my favorite handmade tile maker, Bronwyn Simons.  Enjoy!


Quality, tradition, sustainability, an artful approach to life and business…  In Terra Home’s rural studio in the heart of Denman Island, in British Columbia, founder Bronwyn Simons pursues all these ideals.  For her sustainability is not just a business practice but a reflection of the philosophy that guides her life.

Beauty in the everyday.  Serenity in a single tile.

Read the rest of this entry »

Iannone Design Takes Flight in 2010 Collection

Philadelphia based design firm, Iannone Design, has for several years been making some of the loveliest sustainable contemporary furniture I’ve seen.  Their 2010 collection, about to debut at the ICFF in New York, is full of new, stylish, yet whimsical designs that have already caught my eye.

Luckily, it’s not my eyes, or yours for that matter, that need adjustment to look at this great B-Bit armoire.  The butterfly is purposefully pixelated and rendered in squares of several different wood veneers.  Open it up…

Read the rest of this entry »

Luxurious Leather – TORLYS

Leather floors?  Admit it, the idea sounds kinda sexy.

100% recycled leather floors?  Totally sexy!

If you’ve ever wanted to impress your snooty acquaintances, surprise your treehugging friends, and talk your spouse (or client) into something they won’t think of as being too crunchy granola, TORLYS Leather flooring may be for you.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Little Peace and Quiet – Cushlab

One thing about trying to write for (at least part of) a living, is that you become very annoyed at certain noises.  Not the sweet song of the little goldfinches at the feeder, or the burbling of the fountain of course, but rather at a certain DOG.  The dog who goes all Cujo when the mail carrier dares to set foot on our porch.  The dog who whines at my feet because she hasn’t yet discovered that I am not the only person who can let her out the backdoor – after 6 years of living here.  The dog who likes to howl at the top of her lungs whenever our geriatric cat gets stuck in a closet, or is otherwise yowling for attention.  You know, that dog.

I think I need to buy these adorable wool pillows by Cushlab, so I can put one over each ear.

And those aren’t the only fun, natural fiber pillows they have… Read the rest of this entry »