Simply Beautiful Furniture.

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Our Shirlington Built-In Expert

Date added: 19-01-2012

Larry Northrop, our Shirlington Showroom Manager was recently featured in The Northern Virginia magazine. If you didn’t see it, here’s the magazine and his article on built-ins.

Northern Virginian Built In Cover

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Goodbye Woodbridge, Hello Culpeper!

Date added: 19-08-2011

At the end of the year 2011 Hardwood Artisans will move its whole woodshop and its employees to our recently purchased new shop space in Culpeper, Virginia.  We have spent most of our Hardwood Artisans life in Woodbridge, Virginia building furniture for you, your family members and your friends.  We have been expanding over the past ten years at about a rate of about 3%.  We are hoping this will continue for years and years to come.

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Linda Jones Captures Our Eyes and Our Landscapes

Date added: 14-04-2011

Last fall, I had the opportunity to go to the Great Falls Studio Art Tour.  My first stop was at Linda Jones’ home/studio.  I fell in love with her paintings the moment I saw them, and I knew I had to ask her if she would be willing to display her artwork in our showrooms.  To our luck, she said yes.  And here we are now, with our newest artist displaying her artwork proudly at Hardwood Artisans.

Californian Oranges in acrylics by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Alexandria Showroom)

It’s no wonder that Linda has been inspired to paint.  Born and raised on the south coast of England, Linda has been surrounded by beautiful landscapes and scenery her entire life.  Her interest in landscapes transformed into the study of geology and geography, and even as she was teaching the subject, she encouraged her students to sketch the landscape to understand it better.

Turtle Stones in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Rockville Showroom)

Like many families that move to the US (including my own), the plan was for Linda and her family to move temporarily to Virginia for 2 years.  That was in 1989.  22 years of living in the woods of Great Falls and within walking distance from the Potomac, gives her all the inspiration needed for her paintings.  Having been to her home, I can see why Linda is inspired.  She has pointed out to me the several birds that she painted just by looking out her window.

Red-Shouldered Hawk in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Alexandria Showroom)

Although Linda has been sketching and painting since she was a child, she picked up her aunt’s set of watercolors at the age of 9 or 10 and started painting the roses outside in the garden, she had not studied any form of art until her daughter went away to college to study art herself.  Linda did not realize that by taking her daughter’s advice, she would be turning her whole life around.  (Linda’s daughter now works in art therapy with Alzheimer’s patients, and is also an extremely talented painter herself).

Limelight in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Rockville Showroom)

Linda has experimented with different mediums, but she prefers watercolor, acrylics and mixed media (involving fabric and paper collages).  Almost all of her subjects tend towards realism, but she also enjoys painting abstracts.  “Although most of my paintings are inspired by my immediate environment, I am fortunate to have travelled to paint in other parts of North America and Europe”, she says.  She loves natural woods, such as maple, cherry and walnut, for framing her paintings, as she feels it’s very appropriate for her themes.  She does all the framing herself.

A painting in progress

Linda painting ‘plein air’

Considering all the inspiring landscapes around her, Linda loves painting ‘plein air’ but usually tends to finish her paintings in her studio.  She loves painting in subtleties and vibrancies of colors, especially showing the way the natural light hits her subjects.  The best way to truly understand what Linda does is to take a look at her paintings yourself.

Daybreak in watercolor by Linda Jones (This painting can be viewed in our Fairfax showroom)

Linda’s gorgeous artwork is on display at our Fairfax, Alexandria and Rockville showrooms.  For more information, go to the Great Falls Studios website (where Linda is a board member) to take a look at their annual tour, or click here to be directed to her website to view more of her artwork.

You can also view Linda’s works at the Garrett Arts Gallery Shop in Oakland, MD and the Deep Creek Lake Visitor’s Center in McHenry, MD.

March “Tour” Madness!

Date added: 08-04-2011

We had an incredibly exciting March 31st at our Woodbridge shop. At 10:00 am, two buses arrived in our parking lot, stuffed to the brim with first graders. At first sight, the buses were quite intimidating and I almost began looking for a table to hide under. I (luckily) regained my composure and greeted the newcomers, all 80 of them.  This crowd came about after we received a call about a month ago from Dale City Elementary School. They were interested in getting a tour of our Woodshop for all 80 of their first graders. My first reaction, echoed by many others, was ‘eighty?!’. However, once everyone got over their initial shock, we were all buzzing with excitement and ideas. We’ve given large tours before, but as far as I know, never to 80 first graders, so it was just as much of a new experience for us as it was for the kids.

I was speechless when I saw the two buses pull into the lot, but somehow managed to introduce myself and get them all into the showroom. In my flustered state, I was unable to take a picture of all of the children filing off of the bus, but I did snap a few of the hectic day! Check them out below and let us know what you think.

Here’s Kevin Carlson explaining the tour system to the first graders and their chaperones. Let me tell you, that showroom gets hot with that many tiny bodies packed in there!

They made themselves comfortable on the Showroom floor as the first tour was dispatched. We figured that a group of ten children would be manageable for one craftsman and two chaperones. I’ve never seen children that excited to put on a pair of safety glasses!

Emily Rupert and I tried to keep the children occupied by showing them some of the pieces in our showroom and answering questions.

I asked them what they thought our Library Wall Bed was and I received the answer ‘it’s a shelf, DUH.’ It was only when I pulled the bed down did the ‘ooh’s and ‘ahh’s start. The reaction to our Glasgow TV Lift was one of pure earsplitting joy, which is something the first graders and I have in common.

A few of the questions that Emily and I faced:

“Where do you get your wood?”

“Why do you make everything out of wood?”

“Are your lamps made out of wood?”

“How much does that cost?”

“How much does the entire company cost?”

“How did you become a craftsman?” (I’m proud to say that several of the children want to become craftsman when they grow up!)

“Can I buy that for a dollar?”

“How much does the world cost?”

“Is the world made of wood?”

It’s safe to say that these kids were very curious and did pose some very good questions!

Here is Jermaine with his first tour group!

Jermaine handed out ear plugs, just in case the noises of the shop became too loud. Most of the kids wanted to save the ear plugs for later. I hope they didn’t put them in when they got back to the classroom!

Here is Jermaine’s group touching the dried out lumber that we keep stacked in the front of the shop. They all wanted to know how it went from rough to smooth and finished like the furniture in our showroom.

Mike Chubb had an incredible height difference between him and the children. I think the kids might’ve had kinks in their necks after this tour, but Mike was great with kids and answered all of their questions, so I don’t think they minded much!

Greg Smith showed his group how the CNC machine works (Computer Numeric Control machine… which means that it’s like a giant printer). This is one of the largest machines in the shop.

Kevin Parker with the Bacci Machine and his amazed group!

This was Emily’s last effort to entertain the kiddos – she let them climb the Loft Bed ladder one by one, until all 80 had a turn. You want to test the durability of your furniture? Let 80 first graders have at it!

Here’s the final turn out in front of our Woodbridge Shop! Not everyone is looking at the camera, but I consider it a great success. (Let’s forget the fact that I had to practically stand in the street to take this photo!)

We sent the kids, teachers, and chaperones back to school with gift bags and a personalized sign with all of the craftsman’s signatures on it.

We all had too much fun giving these tours! We thoroughly enjoyed Dale City Elementary School’s visit and hope that we get to see them in the future (maybe as craftsmen themselves!) Always keep in mind that we offer free tours, even to large groups such as this. We benefit from it just as much, if not more, than you will. If you’re interested in receiving a tour, email me at lorelei@hardwoodartisans.com or come into our Woodbridge Shop and we will have one of our talented craftsmen show you around!

Inspirational Art by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

Date added: 10-09-2010

Old paintings made new, or more like new paintings made old. Suzanne Clifford-Clark is a local painter who is inspired to do just that; bring that antique feeling into her works of art. Her motivation comes from traditional paintings and she uses the same age-old methods and tools to create art that will give you a feeling of nostalgia.

The Sliding Hour by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

The Sliding Hour by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

Suzanne has loved art since she was a child, and quickly became enthused in creating her own works. With a family that frequently moved, Suzanne took up the portable habit of drawing and it quickly became an activity that she enjoyed. Soon drawing escalated to painting, and a wonderful relationship was shaped.

We’re proud to showcase 16 of Suzanne’s paintings in our showrooms, all of which are available for sale. Suzanne is a noted equestrian artist, inspired by the gracefulness and muscles of a horse’s large form. When she paints horses, Suzanne tries to portray the individuality of these animals. She doesn’t remember exactly when she first painted a horse, but she is continually trying to improve by not only studying photographs of them, but also by spending time with her own horse. She studies their hair growth, the way their bodies move, even the personalities that many of them convey.

Horse #1 by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

Suzanne  enjoys working with paint; from the way you can apply it to a canvas with broad strokes and thick lines or loosely and light. She’s inspired by colors, the ever changing way you can mix two colors to make another, the different tones and brightness. However, despite the obvious love expressed for such art, painting is a skill that Suzanne sometimes has a love/hate relationship with. When you have such endless possibilities, she does occasionally find herself frustrated with the inability to find that perfect color effect, the details she’s looking for, or even the tone of the piece itself. Painting never leaves her bored, but it does require a couple steps back to reevaluate the art being expressed.

Late Day by Suzanne Clifford-Clark

To create such a beautiful piece, Suzanne starts by stretching a fabric over stretcher bars and tightly securing it. She then paints the first layer of her painting, a layer that is called imprimatura.  This layer consists of a single color that covers the whole surface, therefore making it easier to estimate the value of a stroke on a solid background.

Imprimatura Layer

The next step is emphasizing the subject of her piece with either charcoal or thinned paint. Suzanne has to wait for this layer to dry before continuing onto the next layer, which is painting from the general to the specific. This layer usually consists of two or three layers, both of which have to dry before she continues on. This step is when the details begin to form.

General to Specific

Suzanne’s work is a slow and deliberate process, which pulls from years of painting and centuries of tradition. She has accomplished the goal of creating the traditional and now has several paintings to prove such skill. If you want to see her beautiful paintings or contact Suzanne, you can visit her website or you can visit our Rockville, Alexandria, or Fairfax showrooms to see these gorgeous works in person!

“Ribbon” Cutting? Yeah, right.

Date added: 14-02-2010

Most grand openings involve a ribbon cutting to get things started. But as we contemplate our upcoming grand opening at the Fairfax showroom, ribbons just didn’t seem to fit who we are.

So, we’re going to do a different kind of cutting on Feb. 20 – with THIS:

Who needs scissors?

Who needs scissors?

It’s an antique loggers’ saw that Curt Smay found at a friend’s house, which is where he got this great idea. Two of our guys are going to use it to slice open a log to unveil the new store – which quietly opened last month, but we’re pulling out the big guns, er, saw, next Saturday. How cool is that?

After the official log cutting, customers can come in and enjoy music, food, wine tastings, and demonstrations. Owner Mark Gatterdam will talk about furniture care, and Edwin Moncada will be explaining the technique behind creating stained glass.

Meanwhile, customers can also participate in our live auction to win 30 hours of time in our Woodbridge shop with owner Greg Gloor, who will help the winner make a furniture piece of his or her choosing. So if you know anyone who loves woodworking, bring them along!

Here’s where to find us:

Pender Village Shopping Center

3905A Fair Ridge Dr.

Fairfax, VA 22033

703-537-0600

Or for more information, view the event details here.

Snow, Snow Go Away

Date added: 09-02-2010

It’s been pretty, but are we ready for this to end yet?

This is what the Fairfax showroom looked like Friday night.

This is what the Fairfax showroom looked like Friday night.

By Sunday, the Fairfax showroom looked like this.

By Sunday, the Fairfax showroom looked like this.

And the parking lot looked like this.

And the parking lot looked like this.

All in all, we think it might be nice if it stopped now.

This isn’t Michigan, after all!

Shop Local: Etsy DC

Date added: 25-03-2009

Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows that I love Etsy, the online marketplace for vintage goods and crafts of all sorts. In the spirit of The 3/50 Project, today I thought I’d share some of my favorite local Etsy sellers and introduce you to a neat feature Etsy implemented a while ago called Shop Local.

Here is Jason McClellan of Sidewinder Studio, who also works here at Hardwood Artisans.


And Annie of imogene., who made the tree-shaped earrings customers always ask me about when I wear them in the showrooms.


And finally, Rania of shoofly, who I have featured before, but is is currently showing some gorgeous Moleskine notebooks.


So not only can you now shop handmade, you can also shop local.

Happy Etsying!

The 3/50 Project

Date added: 24-03-2009


We’ve talked about supporting local businesses here on the blog before. In fact, the business that we originally featured (Black Wolf Coffee in Warrenton) has just announced that it is shutting down for good.

Mark is, to put it mildly, heart-broken.

It’s such a sad fact of this economy that the first to go will not be the local Starbucks or Barnes & Noble, but that wonderful independent bookstore you love (as beloved Washington chain Olsson’s Books and Records closed last year) or the coffee house where they always remember what you order and start making it for you when they see you pull into the parking lot.

Enter The 3/50 Project. Started by Cinda Baxter at the Always Upward blog, the 3/50 Project asks supporters to commit to spending $50 per month at three local stores of your choice. It’s such a simple concept, but look how powerful it could be:

I’ve signed up. So should you.

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