Its Really all about the Local
When we stepped into the world of cutting and serving boards earlier this year we wanted to do something that was very purposeful. We had heard about reclaimed fallen tree lumber being milled and dried here in Chicago, and knew this is how we wanted to go. At the mill we selected three types of hardwoods, Hard Maple, Black Walnut and Cherry, from local fallen trees in the city.
The first collection we design was to be in Black Walnut, a beautiful naturally dark wood. Simply cured with oil, it comes to life with deep beautiful grains, and rich tones. We were smitten! It looked modern and sophisticated when we first tested an oiled scrap board. We tested six types of oil before selecting the final, trying to bring out the most rich color naturally. This wood demands an elegant, simple shape, not fancy, over done or complicated. We designed 9 shapes, starting with geometric’s, then building until all the shapes fit together, offering a verity of sizes. During the initial design we imagined a buffet, if you will, of cheeses and charcuterie collected together as one grand spread.
Those Cute Little Bowls
Gregory and I are really foodies at heart and have always loved entertaining. So adding fig jam, mustards, olives, cornichon or quince paste was always part of our cheese or charcuterie boards. But they were piled on the board itself.. sometimes mixing with the unintended. Problem solved! We would add little bowls to each board for all those accompaniments we love so much. So we called on some long time friends, Nancy and Andy, of Circa Ceramics, and asked them if they wanted to create these delightful little bowls for our new board line.
Nancy and Andy were kind enough to wedge us into their very tight production schedule of other accounts. There studio is filled will work benches, racks, shelfs of blank mugs and cups waiting and drying before their next step. Other tables full of pieces freshly glazed waiting to go into the kiln. It is a delight to step inside another artist studio. You envy the talent, the space, how it is organized, looking at it and asking yourself is mine this organized? Why don’t we stack things vertically? What a wonderful idea it is to hang the bubble wrap from the ceiling! We spent about three months together testing colors with them, and getting just the right gold for the rims. We initially wanted to do the Grey/Green color, but was standing in Circa’s Studio one cold Friday morning when we all looked at the raw freshly cast little bowl on the work bench and said “That color… it is perfect”! It looked elegant sitting next to the sample of oiled black walnut. We all agreed, we needed to offer two colors, and we called it Oatmeal from the start, after all it is Chicago in February (or maybe were all just hungry). What a wonderful process it is to work with another creative team, both of us really good at what we craft, and so respectfully of the expertise another studio can bring to a project.
and Those Great Shapes
The collection includes nine geometric shaped black walnut serving boards, each featuring 1-3 bowls depending on the size. Black walnut wood is so perfectly simple, then the geometric shape and angle gives off a great mid century vibe. The nice thing about these is you can combine them into grouping of 2-3 on a table for entertaining. The slim Trapezoid with one bowl is perfect for the newlywed’s, for just sitting on the balcony with a bottle of wine. Or the Hexagon with two bowls, a great serving board to put out when guests are coming. To the very modern looking Kite shape would make a wonderful gift for a house warming party.
And the circle was complete, an elegant and unique collection of serving boards all created locally, right here in Chicago!
Watch For— two more local collections that we are creating, the first in hard Maple and then another in Cherry, these introductions coming very soon!