I created my first piece of reclaimed art in December of last year.
It was a 24-inch by 24-inch square piece, anchored with a cross in its middle.
What may not be obvious when you look at such art, is that it all begins with a pallet of wood.
You know, the same pallets used to ship, store, and hold all kinds of items for all kinds of businesses.
I often drag Cheri with me to dumpsters and other unloading areas where contractors and shipping locals often leave pallets of wood only to be picked up and eventually taken to landfills.
I guess you could say we kinda dumpster dive, at times to find that perfect art medium.
Most people might look at a pallet of wood of as just that – a pallet of wood that’s used for a purpose and then throw out.
But to me, these pallets are still full of life.
I resurrect them.
So in my family’s garage, nestled between bags of mulch, gardening tools, canisters of dog food, and boxes of old clothing my children have outgrown, I have carved out a work space for repurposing wood into reclaimed art.
Plank by plank, I sand. I cut. I sketch out. I sometimes stain.
I spend significant time selecting just the right aged pieces of wood.
Every work contains my blood, sweat, and sometimes, tears.
I sold my very first piece of reclaimed art, that 24 by 24 square with a cross on it, after I posted the work on my Instagram account.
A friend of a friend bought the piece to commemorate her parents’ 50th Anniversary. To think someone would want my art to be reflective or mark such a special event as a 50th Anniversary is humbling, to say the least.
So I created more, creating an Etsy sight to act as a home base and e-commerce option for my work at the time.
Less than six months later, I received a call from West Elm.
West Elm is a modern furniture retail store that launched in Brooklyn, NY in 2002. Today, West Elm has over 65 retail stores in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK. There’s a store in Austin. And, earlier this month, West Elm opened its doors to San Antonio in the Historic Pearl District. In addition to its impeccable design and hip merchandise, West Elm is known for building a sense of community with its customers, collaborators, and associates. As such, they feature local artisans and handcrafted, local products.
Enter Twin Sisters Interiors and my reclaimed art.
The modern home and interiors retail store of my dreams asked us, Twin Sisters Interiors, if it could feature my reclaimed art – wooden stars, in its LOCAL initiative.
My work is now one of over 5-hundred makers and over 4-thousand products, world-wide, born from the sweat, tears, and blood of local artisans, similar to me. We are being given a most amazing opportunity for our work to be seen, appreciated, and purchased by a larger population, thanks to West Elm. ( You can read more about other artists featured at West Elm San Antonio here. )
Seeing my work on display in an international retailer with the credibility of the West Elm brand gives me an incredible feeling.
And get this – my stars sold out in the first week!
Oh my stars!
West Elm asked us to craft more stars.
(And when West Elm asks you to make more stars, you make more stars.)
Last weekend, Cheri and I delivered more than a dozen reclaimed art stars to its San Antonio store and participated in the store’s first ever Pop-Up Shop, featuring many works of a single local artisan.
Let me tell you. It’s one thing to craft and see that art displayed.
To stand by that art you crafted and watch others view your art is something quite different.
At one point, when I was just feet away from my table, a woman pointed to one of my wall hangings and her husband shook his head no. Not going to lie, that hurt a bit. But I walked over to the couple and introduced myself. The husband asked me about my reclaimed wood. And as I shared more about my passion for it, he seemed to gain appreciation for it.
Admittedly, reclaimed wood art doesn’t appeal to everyone.
It’s rough. It’s imperfect. No two pieces are alike.
Ironically, that’s what I think appeals to me most about it.
The reclaimed wood stars continue to be my fastest-selling pieces. Many people expressed a lot of love too for a towel rack I made from reclaimed wood and crystal knobs. They loved the contrasting elements. I’m exploring ways to incorporate more of the shiny polished element with the rough wood. It’s a great juxtaposition.
Cheri, known for her breath-taking oil paintings, also uses reclaimed wood as a most unique canvas of sorts painting beautiful scenery, text, and more on it.
As I continue to work with wood, reclaiming its beauty, I fall in love with it a little more, each day.
To know I’m building something much larger than a single art piece is pretty amazing, too. To shop Twin Sisters Interiors collection of reclaimed art, click here!
~ Theresa N.