Map/Rustic Decorating Article #031706
By Anita Willis
Did you ever wonder how you could do your part to help make the world a less wasteful place? Have you always wondered how you could do something to put to good use an otherwise discarded item? Well, I have a solution to the problem. In my small way I use everything "used" to make furniture and accessories that I sell through my company, River Bottom Furniture. I started making willow and twig furniture about twelve years ago. We live in a farming area that has a river running through it.
The river is full of all kinds of vegetation that is beautiful and lush – when kept in its place. However, the brush and trees, reeds and willows don’t stay where they are supposed to be. The farmers in the river valley find it growing in their ditches, tail water ponds, and anywhere else that is kept moist. It grows thicker and thicker until the farmer has to reclaim his land with large equipment and control burns. That’s where I come in.
The farmer lets me harvest the vegetation before he removes it. I can cut and haul it home where it is crafted into something useful and beautiful that will last generations. As my company grew, I started making other things besides furniture and accessories out of twigs and branches. I started a custom framing business. I gathered used lumber and barnwood from old building, corrals, barns and sheds.
I soon had enough material to offer one of a kind frames to the retail public. I make many kinds of frames, but the one thing they have in common, is they are all made out of used, reclaimed, otherwise wasted material. I realize that I am not making much of a difference in the world, but I do get a certain satisfaction from seeing an old barn or corral turn into something useful instead of being tossed into some landfill or incinerated. And I very much enjoy making furniture out of Mother Nature’s bounty instead of seeing it bulldozed into large piles and burned. Each one of us can do our part by either making something our of discarded items, or purchasing products made from recycled items. Every product I make has a history, and makes new history in the family’s lives that purchase them. Join in the effort.
About The Author
Anita Willis owns River Bottom Furniture in Fort Thomas, Arizona. She practices what her article preaches, recycling nature's castoffs into beautiful furnishings.
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