Category Archives: Wood

Marquetry: Trying My Hand at Art in Wood

Marquetry from the Rocky Mountain Marquetry Guild

This display by the Rocky Mountain Marquetry Guild at the 2015 Gathering of the Guilds inspired a personal exploration of the art.

On a Sunday early in August, I found myself wandering through the doors of Loveland’s Woodcraft store for the first time. Usually when I’m wandering somewhere for the first time on a Sunday in summer, I’m scouting for artisans at a festival I haven’t attended before. On this particular Sunday, however, I was doing something I almost never do – getting my hands into a craft to see what it’s like.

Marquetry had caught my eye at the Gathering of the Guilds in April. I have always loved what I thought of as inlaid wood designs. I didn’t know the word marquetry until I studied the display of the Rocky Mountain Marquetry Guild. And I didn’t know what it really meant until I tried the craft myself. Continue reading


Art and Function Meet in Mike Wilkinson Woodworking

Cutting board by Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson creates artful cutting boards by cutting different kinds of wood in curved designs.

At the end of last year I shared the picture of the cutting board shown here and said one of my goals for 2015 is to find out how you can make curved pieces of wood fit perfectly together with a smooth finished surface. Last week Mike Wilkinson, who made the cutting board in the picture, graciously helped me meet that goal by showing me all the steps at his home workshop in Fort Collins.

Mike begins by drawing a design on a board about ¾-inch thick and longer and wider than the cutting board will be. Marking a number on each shape to represent its order in the design prevents confusion later. He slowly guides the marked wood through his band saw along his pencil lines, much like I guide fabric through my sewing machine. The newly cut pieces of wood become the pattern he will draw on maple, cherry, and walnut boards. Continue reading


Jamie Lauren Upholstery Brings Furniture to Life with Artful Flair

Furniture from Jamie Lauren Upholstery Upcycle

Contemporary and upcycled furniture from Jamie Lauren Upholstery  awaited customers at Boulder’s Firefly Handmade Market in summer of 2014.

Last spring at an art festival in Boulder, a middle-aged couple wandered among the brightly upholstered antiques, ottomans, and benches at Jamie Solveson’s booth. “Jamie Lauren Upholstery” read the sign on the tent.

The couple slipped quietly away to the next booth, but Jamie received a call from them weeks later. They had an 80-year-old chair that had been brought outside for a patio party and had subsequently been rained on, they told Jamie. Because it was wet, it had remained outside. There was more rain, and more time passed for the chair on the patio. Squirrels took advantage of the situation and pulled out the stuffing until the back and seat were thoroughly tattered from one side to the other. Continue reading


A Summer Afternoon in Fort Collins Means Fun for Children across the Country

Natural wood toys from A Summer Afternoon

Natural wood toys from A Summer Afternoon offer hours of imaginative play. The school bus at left has been the top selling toy according to owner Aaron Nuland.

Aaron Nuland enjoyed playing with the wooden toys his father made for him when he was a boy. Now that he has sons of his own, Aaron makes wooden toys not only for his sons but also for thousands of children across the country through his business A Summer Afternoon.

Making toys wasn’t Aaron’s original life plan. Five years ago, Aaron supervised multi-million dollar construction projects that kept him away from home for extended periods. When he and his wife Erin were starting a family, Erin kept suggesting alternative careers that would give Aaron more time at home. The toys he made for his first son received such acclaim from family and friends that she finally convinced him to make a business of it. Continue reading


Kristin’s Clothes Line and The Pink Moose: Stories from Severance, Colorado

Kristin’s Clothes Line and the Pink Moose sounds like the title of an imaginative story for children. However, it’s really two stories of two resourceful young women in Severance, Colorado, whose businesses provide children and families with exceptional items made from upcycled materials.

Hanging Around Kristin’s Clothes Line

Heirloom linen upcycled to little girl dresses by Kristin McMahan

Kristin McMahan upcycles heirloom linen to create one-of-a-kind dresses for little girls

I met Kristin McMahan at The French Nest Market in Fort Collins this past summer. Handmade dresses for little girls hung from clothes lines strung around her booth. Embroidered flowers and birds adorned their skirts, which were frequently edged with crocheted scallops. Occasionally a small embroidered apron had been sewn into a dress’s waistline. The dresses epitomized the sweetness of little girls, so I couldn’t help stopping to admire them and to chat with Kristin. Continue reading