Design Week Portland Artist Feature: Tiny Shed

Jordan Saia of Tiny Shed

Jordan Saia of Tiny Shed

Jordan graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a degree in fine art with a special affinity for woodworking and welding. He spent some time in Atlanta, creating works out of reclaimed plywood and then bounced back to a NY community of craftsman, further honing his woodworking skills. In 2013 he made the move to Portland, discovering his Tiny Shed workspace at Green Anchors right next to Cathedral Park in North Portland. There, with his workmate Dane of Two Ravens Forge, they practice their crafts to the sounds of the Misfits.

1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman?
Woodworker, sculptor

2. How did you get started?
Building reclaimed structures with my step-dad

3. Why wood?
It smells good and I love trees

4. What was the first thing you made from wood?
Tiny planter seed box that worked like a jack-in-the-box

5. What does being creative meant to you?
Happiness and freedom

6. Do you have any rituals?
Firing up the wood stove, coffee

7. What is your favorite piece?
Strange burled drops I keep on my desk

Burled wood drops

Burled wood drops


8. Who inspires you?
Isamu Noguchi and Richard Neutra

9. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
Modern functional design with an emphasis on sustainable ethics

10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
Astronomy

11. The ultimate piece you want to create?
A tree temple

12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX?
The summer

Axe throwing

Axe throwing

13. Favorite song?
Misfits, Hybrid Moments

14. Favorite bridge?
St John’s

15. Favorite neighborhood?
St John’s

16. What’s your favorite tool?
Circular saw

Game table for Design Week Portland

Game table for Design Week Portland

 

Jordan Saia from Tiny Shed at read:grain, works with reclaimed wood on Friday, April 28th from 4-7pm during Design Week Portland. For more information, go here.

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Design Week Portland Artist Feature: Branches Furniture

Joel and Alyse Knudson

Joel & Alyse Knudson

 

Joel & Alyse Knudson opened Branches Furniture in 2013. Together with their three children (and Buster the dog), they have found their place in Canby, Oregon. Going outside the metro area allowed them to nestle in an acre getaway with all the space they needed to thrust Branches Furniture off the ground.

We spent some time talking with Joel at Branches’ Canby escape; here’s what he had to say about Lynard Skynard, the Corvallis bridge, and the muse of his wife.

1. How would you refer to yourself? Woodworker? Artisan? Craftsman?
Creator and builder.

2. How did you get started?
Building things as a kid. I remember whittling a marshmallow roasting stick, but the first real project was a cutting board in junior high shop class.

3. Why wood?
It’s beautiful, it’s organic, and has personality and warmth. It has a history—I like that it tells a story.

4. What does being creative meant to you?
It allows me to go where my mind takes me. It’s about going places where other people have not gone before—finding new ways to build.

5. Do you have any rituals?
Not really, but I do drink a lot of coffee and listen to music while I work.

6. So what’s playing in the shop then?
Right now it’s Simple Man, by Lynyrd Skynyrd

7. What is your favorite piece?
Whatever I’m currently working on. And I’m proud of the Sampele dining table that built for our home. Really, I’m proud of most of the pieces I’ve built.

Sampele dining table

Sampele dining table

8. Who inspires you?
Alyse doesn’t want me to say this, but she inspires me. I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for her encouragement. But if I had to pick one person who isn’t my wife, I would pick Jory Brigham. He does beautiful, unique work. He’s also created a successful business; his success is an inspiration.

9. What do you hope to communicate through your work?
I don’t know about communicating. I just want to create pieces that last generations. I want them to be unique, affordable, and accessible for most people. I want them to be functional works of art.

10. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
I don’t know. It took me 40 years to find this.

11. What is the ultimate piece you want to create?
I’d like to build a whole house from scratch. It would be everything I want, exactly how I want.

12. What’s your favorite thing about PDX?
The creativeness and entrepreneurial spirit of the area. How everyone respects the environment, it’s inspiring. I don’t think you’ll find such creative environments in other parts of the country; I probably wouldn’t be doing this if I were in Ohio.

Project for Design Week Portland - Bench will have a lounge feature and book storage

Project for Design Week Portland – Bench will have a lounge feature and book storage

 

13. Favorite bridge?
The covered bridge in Corvallis.

14. Favorite neighborhood?
No favorite, but I love my shop.

15. What’s your favorite tool?
My hands.

Join Joel and Alyse from Branches Furniture at read:grain, works with reclaimed wood on Friday, April 28th from 4-7pm during Design Week Portland. For more information, go here.

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Let’s check in with our Finishing Department

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In the past five years our finishing department has grown into a well trained, well equipped, team of detail oriented professionals. This can be credited in large part to our Finishing Team Leader Steve Pettrone, who with the support and encouragement of management has deftly guided this devoted crew. SteveWith years of flooring installation experience, a strong personal environmental ethos and an easy going swagger that inspires camaraderie, Steve is quite a rock star. In addition to streamlining and updating our processes, he has proudly steered our in-house finishing options away from Tung oils and 2 part polyurethanes to the Zero VOC hard-wax oil finishes that have become the industry standard in the world of reclaimed flooring.

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Steve’s newest addition to our product line is his Custom Grey, Custom White and Custom Black finishes on American Gothic Ash.

There is nothing radical about these finishes. They aren’t groundbreaking or cutting edge. They aren’t Pantone’s color of the year (though we do have plenty of custom one-off finish possibilities, but that’s another story).

pantone colors of 2016

 

 

 

 

 

What they are, are well tested, expertly applied, high performing finishes that will expand the tonal options available to both the cosmopolitan designer and the renovating homeowner.

In general, clients come to us looking for authenticity. That’s what reclaimed wood delivers best. The time-worn surface, the rich depth of color found in original patina and old growth wood, the nail holes and fastener marks that testify to a past life. Faux finishes make us cringe. As anyone who has worked in our sample department will tell you, nothing is lamer than receiving a request for a stain that will make red oak look like walnut. Or the request to apply some Rumplestiltskin magic to make fresh-sawn Douglas Fir look like it has weathered grey naturally for 20 years under the Wyoming sun.

We prefer the modernist tenet of remaining true to the material. But we are also aware that natural color tones – no matter how lush – are not right for every project. Our three custom finishes are complex and transparent, highlighting Ash’s tight grain pattern rather than masking it. Like your neighborhood sommelier, Steve has paired finish and wood so that each works to one another’s strength.

rubrica

These custom finishes take full advantage of a product that we are very fond of: Rubio Monocoat. This hard-wax oil is favored for its ease in application, maintenance and its tested durability.

Our custom process begins with a wire-brushing to open the wood grain, a hand-applied Rubio “Pre-color” stain which gives the final finish extra depth, and a thorough denibbing which removes any raised fibers.

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At this point the flooring is laid out on a platform and the oil finished is applied with a buffer. We then inspect and wipe down every board by hand and let the finish cure for 24 hours in a rack. Before it is shipped, the finished material is lined with a sheet of protective padding and then wrapped into hand bundles of approximately 25 square feet.

From start to finish, this diligent process is free of shortcuts and it results in a product that we feel is equal if not superior to any prefinished wood floor on the market. Steve is confident that you will agree.

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The Opposite of Ash

Ray has been working with a client seeking a sleek, high contrast look and they turned to our good friend Ash to make it happen. We’ve talked a little bit about custom finishes and Ash in particular as a species that is super flexible and looks great with just about any finish you can think of to apply. But if you walk out in to our shop today you’ll see something pretty dramatic.

Rows and rows of black wood planks.

Our custom finishing team is working on the black portion of this three toned color application.  Here, the boards fill the room while finish coats are drying.

Our custom finishing team is working on the black portion of this three toned color application. Here, the boards fill the room while finish coats are drying.

 

The grey boards have a white topcoat that highlights the reclaimed details- grain, nailholes and insect marks.

The grey boards have a white topcoat that highlights the reclaimed details- grain, nailholes and insect marks.

This project calls for Ash to become its own opposite. Dark, smooth and glossy boards will contrast with bright whites and a two-tone grey combination. Not a hint of warm gold to be found.  The finishing team has been dedicated to this project, working their way through multiple colors, wiping and top coat applications, literally hand crafting each individual board.

 

 

 

 

 

Dave works his way through the application of the white finish. Behind him you can see a clock and thermometer. Temperature can be a crucial factor in finish application and successful curing so it's closely monitored.

Dave works on the application of the white finish. Behind him you can see a clock and thermometer. Temperature can be a crucial factor in finish application and successful curing so it’s closely monitored.

 

The blackest boards are sleek and uniform with a smooth satin sheen.

The blackest boards are sleek and uniform with a smooth satin sheen.

 

We’ve found ourselves doing more and more of this custom finishing lately and the team has been having fun flexing their creative muscles, helping put together exactly the right look for our clients’ projects.

I personally can’t wait to see the finished installation…

Keep you posted!

-Roblyn

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