Sustainability

We talk about sustainability, and what we as individuals do to reduce our carbon footprint. I recycle heavily, I live in a small house, drive a Smart Car, and otherwise re-use or re-purpose many things. Call it thrifty, cheap, or conscientious, but I do my small part. I’m able to do more with the company, and we do. Our sustainability position is pretty strong.

As time marches forward, I find myself coveting the past. By this I mean that the things that worked for me years ago seem to have proven themselves over the test of time, and I find that I come across as “old timey” when talking to the newer generations.

The fact is Hardwood Artisans makes solid wood furniture using old fashioned joinery. It works, even if it is an antiquated system using old time tools. I mean, really, when was the last time you saw someone break out a hand plane? Talk about old fashioned…

Think about it. A tree takes in carbon and holds it until it burns or rots in the woods. This carbon is then released back into the environment. By using the tree in the form of furniture, we trap the carbon inside. Well, at least for the life of the piece.

Architect Michael Greene elaborated on this idea when discussing the idea of wooden skyscrapers in a TED video linked below. Greene makes a tremendous case for why we should be using wood instead of concrete or steel to erect these structures. His argument coincides and supports my personal philosophy on lumber being used in a sustainable manner. He also provides compelling statistics regarding demand in the future for housing, overpopulation, homelessness, and the overall shift in living environments.

In tandem to the Greene video, I am reading Dan Brown’s book “Inferno”, a story that revolves around the overpopulation of the planet and some apocalyptic plague purposefully placed to offset this problem. I won’t elaborate because I don’t want to give anything away, but sufficed to say that it gets you thinking.

A chain of unrelated events over the past month have gotten me to look at what we do at Hardwood Artisans with a fine tooth comb. Ken, Greg, and Lois’ retirement, Syria, Michael Greene’s video, recent disputes over climate change have all got me wondering about our position, and with that consideration, I find myself digging in deeper to the roots of this organization that I know will last. Take care of the customer, build a quality product, conduct ourselves in a manner that contributes to the greater good.

The Landscape Expert: Jo Fleming

In our Fairfax showroom: Jo Fleming

Ellipse at Dumbarton Oaks in acrylic/mixed media on canvas - $4900

I stumbled on Jo and her outstanding abstract paintings during last year’s Great Falls Art Studio Tour.  And even though that was last October, her work never left my mind.  Jo’s artwork fits in beautifully with the furniture in our Fairfax showroom.

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The Nature Expert: Margot Miller

In our Rockville showroom: Margot Miller

Caribbean Sky in oil - $275

North Country Sky in oil - $275

I made the long drive out from Arlington, VA to Easton, MD to meet Margot. And boy was I happy when I got there. Margot is such a wonderful host, not just in her studio and home, but her whole town. She took me on a tour and told me a little bit about the history of the area.

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The Color Expert: Mary Eggers

We have 3 new wonderful artists that we want to share with you. We will be posting a highlight on each artist for the next week, so be sure to tune in.  They will be displaying their artwork in our showrooms until June.  Hurry in to see what they have to offer.

In our Shirlington showroom: Mary Eggers

Being a fan of Hardwood Artisans, Mary stopped by our Shirlington showroom one day and after noticing that we display local artwork, decided to ask what she could do to get her artwork in here.  All she had to was show me her website, and I was immediately captivated.

A Big Bouquet in collage - $750

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Amazing Pottery by Amy Jackson

Amy Jackson is a brand new potter to the world of artists, and we are so glad that she approached us in our Fairfax showroom and presented her work. Her pottery is not just outstanding, but it is different take on the art. Her architectural background has a lot to do with the angular shapes she plays with. Her first interaction with pottery occurred while working at an art camp in the summer of 1987. She only picked it up again recently when she decided to take a ceramics class in 2009, but look at what she can make:

Aren’t these the most exciting pitchers you’ve ever seen? It’s a double Pitcher Perfect.

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Fred Eberhart’s Inspiring Photography

Broadway Gallery is a family owned business based in Alexandria VA.  Sue Broadway started the company 30 years ago and passed it along to her son Barry Broadway.  Broadway Gallery is not only an art gallery that shows exquisite pieces of artwork, from paintings to pottery to sculptures, but they also have their own framing workshop in the back of their shop.  They specialize in a “complete art service” program, which helps their clients decide all of their art needs in one place, from the artwork consultation to the custom framing and installation to art appraisal and restoration.

Broadway Gallery in Alexandria, VA

Barry came by our showrooms, and found the perfect fit for us and our bare walls, local photographer Fred Eberhart.  His stunning photography and his vibrant colors fit in so well with our showroom and our furniture, we couldn’t be happier with this new found friendship with Broadway Gallery.

Fred Eberhart: Sycamores on Popham Run. This artwork can be viewed in our Shirlington showroom.

As for Fred Eberhart, his passion for photography has lasted more than 40 years, and has developed through many stages (pardon the pun!).  His more recent work has progressed to shooting local landscapes in a digital format.  Fred is inspired by mid 19th century Illuminist painters, probably the reason why most of his photographs are mistaken for paintings.  He finds the patience to find the right uncommon light for his photographs.  Fred does not hesitate to use technology to express his art, and he found that he can best show his creativity and love of landscapes by shooting and stitching these high-resolution images. These mosaic like photos take days to finish, and leave you wanting more. Fred enjoys photographing the Virginia wildlife near his home in Centreville.

Fred Eberhart: Autumns Blaze at the Mill Prong. This artwork can be viewed in our Fairfax showroom.

Fred’s artwork is currently on display until December.  Hurry in to our showrooms and take a look for yourself.

Barbara Gatterdam and Her Magnificent Pottery

If her name sounds familiar, it’s no coincidence; she is co-owner Mark Gatterdam’s very talented mother.  I had the pleasure of going to her home during last year’s Great Falls Studio Art Tour, and watched her finish up some of the pottery she had just taken out of the kiln.

Look at the beautiful glazes and details in the handles on this magnificent bowl. You can find the Altered Rim Oval Bowl in our Fairfax showroom.

Barbara’s work is absolutely beautiful and functional, just like our furniture.  It’s no wonder Mark grew up to appreciate art in all its form.  Their home in Great Falls is filled with Hardwood Artisans furniture and Barbara Gatterdam’s pottery. Barbara is also a collector of other potters’ works, and you can see the collection on every shelf in her home.

Talk about functional! Barbara makes these beautiful brie makers that come with a handmade wooden knife from Thailand. If you’re looking for a brie recipe, look no further, she provides the recipe as well. Snatch one of these up from our Fairfax showroom.

Barbara studied at several different schools to learn about the arts, including the Corcoran School of Art and has taken workshops with well known national and international potters.  She has been a potter for 35 years.  Her pots are made from stoneware clay and fired in her kiln to 2300 degrees, taking about 12 to 14 hours to complete.

A new vase shape that Barbara has been experimenting with. I think she did a terrific job, what do you think?

Her favorite pottery forms to make are pitchers and vases.  “There is a great feeling of accomplishment to create a tall graceful form” she says.  Barbara participates in many local pottery shows, and seasonally in Lost River, West Virginia.  You can see Barbara’s work in our Fairfax and Rockville showrooms.

Some of her favorite shapes and forms. The Pitcher and Vase by Barbara Gatterdam

Our Expanding Local Artist Program

As you know, Hardwood Artisans loves our local artists and showing them off.  We have a collection of new local artwork in our showrooms and we’d love for all the fans of handmade art to visit our showrooms and check them out:

  • Barbara Gatterdam – makes beautiful pottery out of her home in Great Falls, VA
  • Fred Eberhart – for a limited time only, a local photographer we acquired through Broadway Gallery in Alexandria, VA
  • Amy Jackson – a brand new local potter with her own sense of style in Fair Oaks, VA
  • Lawrence Oliver – makes handmade wooden sculptures that leave you in awe in Missouri

From top counter-clockwise; Fred Eberhart: Old Rag, Clearing Storm; Barbara Gatterdam: Large Bowl; Lawrence Oliver: Vase in ebonized cherry; Amy Jackson: Hibiscus

Throughout this week we will be posting blogs highlighting about different local artists that we are displaying in our showroom.

Tuesday:  Barbara Gatterdam & Fred Eberhart

Wednesday: Amy Jackson & Lawrence Oliver

We’re excited to hear your opinions on their work!

Betty Ganley: Painting Scenes We Want to Visit

Ahoy to Hardwood Artisans’ newest featured artist, Betty Ganley!  Betty Ganley is a local watercolor painter with wonderful scenes depicting gardens, boating and flowers.  In the world of watercolor, her name brings instant recognition.  Betty’s many awards showcase her love of the marine scenes of the Chesapeake, the coast of Maine, and Cornwall, England. Her nautical paintings, as well as those of her  florals and still life’s  have been published in art books featuring todays top water colorists.  You can almost hear the waves lapping at the shore and hear the gulls squawking at each other when you gaze at her marina paintings and smell the beautiful flowers when you look at her floral paintings.

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A Potter with a Twist, Hadrian Mendoza

Here at Hardwood Artisans, we are always so excited about the local artists who display their artwork in our showrooms.  From woodturners to painters, they all possess amazing skills. The latest addition to our showrooms is a wonderful potter, Hadrian Mendoza.  Hadrian works out of the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center along with many of the artists who display their works in our showrooms.

Hadrian definitely has a way with manipulating the clay, turning it into fascinating bowls, trays, teapots and vases.  Of my favorite pieces are his round vases with square twisted necks such as the one below.

Twisted Bottle

Hadrian graduated from the Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA.  In 1994, at the age of 22, Hadrian took an elective course in college, and since then has had a passion for making pottery.  Originally from the Philippines, he went back in 1997 to rediscover his roots and learn about the craft along with the different techniques of pottery making in his homeland.  He came back to Virginia in late 2009 and since then has been working in his studio at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA.

Hadrian is inspired by the environment that surrounds him, whether it be near or far.  You will also find a lot of southeast Asian influence in his works, and in the simplicity of his forms, such as this stunning teapot set below:

Fish Tea Set handmade by Hadrian

Hadrian starts by kneading the clay to warm it up and to get rid of the air bubbles.  He then bisque fires the piece, a process which is important to potters if they want to use more decorative stains and glazes without risking damage or cracking of the pottery.  Below is a picture of Hadrian shaping the clay to make a tray:

Hadrian sculpting a tray at Lorton Workhouse Arts Center

He then adds his glaze and fires the piece again in temperatures as high as 1300 C (2372 F).  He will sometimes add a little salt to create more movement in the glaze.  After the kiln has cooled, he opens it and the process starts all over again.  The end result, is a magnificent piece of artwork such as this beautifully glazed bowl:

Hadrian is currently on the hunt for wood firing kilns in Virginia.  “As a potter”, he says, “the most important thing for me is the clay and the kiln.  Without clay, [you] can’t make anything.  Without a good kiln, the pieces can’t be finished the proper way.”  He is constantly on a journey, learning new things about the pottery-making scene locally and nationally, always appreciative of new challenges.

Hadrian’s beautiful pottery is on display at our Fairfax and Alexandria showrooms.  You can also see more of his artwork at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center or click here to be directed to his website.