February 26, 2013


When my father was in his mid-twenties he had a small line of various wood objects that he sold all over the region under the name Barnside Furniture. One of my favorite items that he used to produce were hand turned vases out of local fallen trees. 

I love the story of a large order he received for these handmade vases from the Drake Hotel in Chicago; they wanted 500 for display in their dining/lounge areas. He worked on his own, so he had to enlist all of his friends to help meet the deadline, which he met. I hope they didn't end up in a dumpster in the '90s. 

My then fiance, Hillary and I enjoyed them so much, my father created them for our wedding reception this past fall; Hillary's centerpiece dream and gift to our guests. I wanted some for our own home, so I set out to recreate a similar type of product. The first image here is a pair of photos from my father's first workshop where he created the large vase order. The next images document the hunt for the right wood for the vases. Following the wood search photos, are photos showing me working with the same lathe and exact hand tools that my father used decades ago to create those 500 vases for the Drake. The finished product is revealed at the end.

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