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Beeken/Parsons- Furniture Makers
By taking a fresh look at their raw materials and then using the skill and artistry that has put their work in some of the nation's finest museums, Bruce Beeken and Jeff Parsons are creating furniture that is as kind to forests as it is beautiful to look at. In fact, their forest-friendly approach has added an extra dimension to the beauty of their work.
It's ironic- the very features that make wood such a beautiful material (distinctive color variations, knots, wormholes, etc.) are generally rejected by furniture makers, resulting in an extremely high percentage of waste (as much as half of every log). Beeken and Parsons have found that using "character marked" wood not only enhances the beauty of their furniture, but also significantly reduces sawmill waste.
Another threat to forests is furniture industry reliance on only a few species of trees. The result of this trend is disproportionate harvesting that threatens to throw off the natural balance of forests. This is a pity, since each species has its own working qualities, and therefore a limited range of suitability to different types of furniture. Using a wider variety of species gives the furniture maker access to a wider range of working qualities. For example, because of its structure, elm will make a chair that is surprisingly strong for its weight.
In addition to pioneering changes in furniture making, Beeken/Parsons has worked with the National Land Trust, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Businesses for the Northern Forest presenting the issues of sustainable forestry practices, developing local sources and markets for wood, and expanding the markets for natural, character marked wood. Concurrently, they are active in the Shelburne Farms Educational Programs presenting forestry and related topics to school children and their families.
Elm Side Chair
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