Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Contest, A Video and a new Fan!

One golden morning, a notification from CIRA (Canadian Internet Registry Assocation; was brought to my attention! In it laid the general guidelines for contestants to create a video that 'showed off' their .CA website. I skimmed thru it quickly to find the prizes...macbook, Ipod Touch, Flip Camcorder...who couldn't use one of those...?? I promptly organized a staff meeting, thinking, this was something we could do! What's not to love about At the staff meeting, the 4 year old apprentice decided that he would be the star of the show - noone argued and a basic idea was hatched.

To make that part of the story shorter, see the end result here:

Suffice to say that it took a few hours over a couple of days ... we are amateurs, recorded it on a digital camera, have no knowledge of editing and/or editing software, but crashed the internet and manuals for basic information and put together what we thought was a solid effort for our skills. Clearly, we are woodworking artists and not video artists!

So, we entered the contest and patiently waited to see if we would get on the shortlist....NOT! Probably not even close. Seriously, some of the videos submitted were absolutely beautiful and creative - and some were real DUDS, and I'm not even talking about OURS! We were disappointed, but still went to work the next day....

In looking at all the videos, I came across one in particular - that actually made the shortlist, that I liked (and I didn't like many of the others except, but for some reason, within a few minutes I saw that the entry was WITHDRAWN. First thought was, "how do we get that spot", and the second thought was, "what happened?" .. so clever, as I am - I asked! (not for the spot, but, what happened?) CIRA and the author both answered, surprisingly, because I thought my question would just hang out there in internet land. And, the answer made sense to me. Why do people have to enter all their information just to vote for the winner - why can't they have a choice : VOTE OR VOTE + ENTRY. The author didn't want to mobilize her troops, requiring them to give over their lifestory just to show support for her video. I praised her for her integrity .. I might not have even thought about it, I was so focused on the PRIZEs! Not soon after, I noticed a new fan on our facebook and twitter spots...very kindly appreciating the work of and telling her friends!

Karma. End of Story. Karma rules.

You can choose to enter the contest here :

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hibernation is Near

OH - GWA - REE (Okwari), means bear in mohawk.

So, for that really good reason, open studio visits are closed from November - March. You can still make appointments to visit on the weekends during hibernation months, it just won't be like the summer time...too cold to have all the displays outside! To make your appointment and view examples and works in progress email : to setup a date and time.

That being said, this is the busiest month as clients gear up for winter, and are thinking of Christmas Gifts. There have been alot of requests for mudroom sets, coatracks and benches, storage benches and most recently candleholders. This coatrack and storage bench (right), were finished in a light Honey Oak flavor, which looks awesome in their morning light.

New, this year - IF you make an order from December 1 - December 15th, 2009, a surprise gift will be sent to a person on your Christmas List. You will not know what the gift is, and the gift will arrive to your chosen person before Christmas, from Rustic Benches and You! So, dream up your next order, and make someone else happy too :-)

Rustic Benches

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunny September

I counted one day of rain in September, so does that make me forget about July? Not really ... but it sure is nice to work in the comfort of fall. This is the time of year where alot of the pieces can be brought outside, and sanded, and stained and finished. With the cool breezes, unlimited sky and long days it really makes for ideal conditions for wood workers. Luckily, there has been plenty of salvaged wood around lately, and if you have a keen eye, it can be turned into something (relatively) new looking. This picture is completed, and used to be pieces of a table - but, they've been redesigned and refinished into a little side table. The finish is unique, and sometimes you need to see these up close to really appreciate the look of the wood. But, since this was a previously stained piece, when it was sanded down and redone, it retained an 'aged' quality that is striking in person. There will be a couple of these pieces on display during the September and October studio dates, so c'mon by and have a look. For November - April, studio visits will be by appointment only. okwari (bear) hibernates in winter, but all you will have to do is drop a line to to get a special invite to the winter den.

....and so it goes!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Augustus Bringus Sunus!

After a wet July, it's time to look to the heavens and expect blue skies! We all deserve it...

Studio OPEN dates : 10am - 4pm

August 8,9th
August 15,16th
August 22, 23rd

Email for directions from your location.

Recently (see photos) a piece was designed and created in a spectacular flavor of butternut. This is a wonderfully natural wood. Similar to pine, but a bit harder, and already with brown undertones. This one was created for a bathroom setting and went home to a very happy customer. Got an idea for a space in your home?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Studio

June signals the beginning of summer, and just as exciting ... studio tours! Artists come out of hibernation and share their works with the touring public. Local festivals also get their tents up, entertainment organized, and provide another venue for artists to show their crafts.
The Okwari Essentials Studio will be showcasing Artwork by Mohawk Artist, Star Horn; Traditionally Crafted Aboriginal Jewellry by Margaret and Star Horn; and Handcrafted Rustic Furniture by Tristyn Kaitt.

For the month of June, visitors are welcomed on the following dates :

Saturday and Sunday, June 6, 7 from 10am - 4pm

Sunday June 14th from 10am - 4pm

Saturday and Sunday, June 21, 22nd from 10am - 4pm

Come by, browse our works, enjoy some tea or coffee and some homemade banana bread! That's sure to get a few people into their cars and out for a country drive.


Email for directions to the studio.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A morning in the shop...

It began with latte's and ended with burnt, chocolate and caramel. Three raw benches, put together yesterday, were going to get their colors today. We chose 'burnt' for the boxed, westwater style, chocolate was requested for the 3 foot bench, and we tested a new caramel flavor for the 4 foot with shelf. Tomorrow, they'll all be in finishing - a series of varathane and sanding layers, and then finally a paste wax finish. In between the colors, we put together a 3'x5' table top, doweling and gluing, mucho fun selecting which boards had the best rustic look. This client was very clear that they wanted LOTS of KNOTS!. After the morning fun, it was off to the hardware gadget store to look over some latches and pulls for a bathroom cabinet design, and some cast iron hooks for a coatrack. Then it was off to find some kiln dried, rough, knotty pine. We were on a quest to find a couple of good rustic boards for a 40" bench and matching coatrack, commissioned the other day. This pleasantly takes rusticbenches to the highest output since it was officially established in January of 2008!

Friday, April 2, 2010

April showers bring.....

Yes, it did rain on the first day of April, so that means flowers are on their way, right? Rustic Benches had a great March, and thanks to all the interest, there have been some new and interesting designs added to our portfolio. We have also become involved in some of the social networks that are 'abuzz' around the internet. We've joined facebook, twitter, this blog and along with our monthly newsletter seem to be reaching a new audience. Each network is incredibly interesting and meeting up with other small businesses trying to be successful in this uneasy economic time, has been an invaluable experience. I find that people are eager to share their success stories and words of wisdom to avoid pitfalls. April looks to be quite busy as well, keeping up with the social networks is one thing, and keeping up in the shop is another. In the queue we have a gathering table with matching bench, a couch console, a bathroom cabinet and another gathering table. In the design room there is a 'butternut' gathering table, a piano bench, a wine bottle storage box, and the ever popular pet feeders are always being re-invented. Check out our website regularily - we've recenlty updated a section on 'caring' for you rustic piece. Valuable tips on keeping your okwari rustic bench (or other :-) in tip top shape! So, onward into April, and bring out the garden benches ... if you don't have one, you know where to get one!

Rustic Benches

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Opening Up!

Since there are so many requests to follow the creations of 'rustic benches' ... here it is, a tiny space to watch, listen and lurk, LOL!
So, first things first, learning how to use this stuff. One of the recent clients suggested that content be included that would reach the social networks on the internet, to drive more interest to the website : He's right, of course, having worked at Google in his past.! So, taking his advice, means getting to know these forums - slowly, so to speak.!
So, here is a start, let's see where it goes!

Twitter - search rusticbenches
Facebook - rustic benches
Blog - you're HERE!
Email -