Map/History/Rustic (lite version)
The term "rusticating" means to live or go to live in the country; or to make something rustic or rural in style.
Rusticating became a popular expression in the mid to late eighteen-hundreds. Well-heeled city folks developed elaborate country retreats and cabins (many were called "camps") and "rusticated" during the summer. Most of us have heard about the "camps" built by the Vanderbilts, Morgans and others during this time. Many of these "rustic homes" became America's castles.
The Adirondacks in upper New York gave birth to the American rustic furniture movement. Custodians of these rustic manors made furniture during the winter when the property owners were away in the city. The idea of rustic furniture was to create interesting pieces using natural materials such as twigs and logs, and were often decorated with animal antlers. Twig (or willow) has been used to make furniture - since people began making furniture. Many early twig furniture makers were migrants who traveled the country making willow furniture to sell to local residents.
During this same period, the renowned Adirondack chair was created and refined in the Adirondack mountains of New York. Attributed to Thomas Lee, it has become the personification of northeast American rustic. Learn more about the Adirondack chair and its history here.
Rustic furniture makers today follow the age old tradition of using natural materials to create spectacular furniture and rustic decor pieces. The vast majority of rustic furniture makers are small mom and pop businesses, many of which used to sell their wares out of the back of their trucks or from their garages. With the advent of the Internet, even the smallest, most remote furniture crafters have a means to reach customers worldwide. (This was one of the primary reasons our directory evolved).
Rustic is not like other styles of furniture (i.e. traditional or contemporary). It is not usually ornate or gilded, nor does it have the predictable lines or patterns we've come to expect in "conventional" furniture. A rustic chair can look like it has grown out of the floor with twisted legs and unparallel stretchers and back braces. Rustic furniture often recycles itself. Old barns are scavenged for wood, which is fashioned into tables, chests and anything the craftsman can envision.
A quote from the RusticFurnitureDirectory.com...
"Rustic furniture is... furniture with a soul. Rustic furniture pulls together elements of nature - while craftsmen using special tools and inventive designs, create functional furniture that is as appropriate in a backwoods cabin as it is in a contemporary home or office.
Utilizing recycled barn wood and standing trees or twisted juniper roots and willow weavings, rustic furniture makes a personal connection. It evokes a memory of an earlier era when people fashioned their furniture from nature to serve their needs. A distressed appearance of some rustic pieces adds character, charm and a individuality not found in other furniture styles. Rustic furniture is warm, creative, and practical and it speaks to our appreciation of human genius and resourcefulness.
The term "rustic furniture" means many things to different people. This category is wide-ranging as it relates equally to log furniture, willow and twig designs, western or southwestern styles, Shaker and early American styles. To me, rustic furniture is natural, hand-made freeform artwork."
The demand for rustic and log furniture has never been greater than it is today. The high-tech, high-speed lifestyle of today's world probably contributes to our longing to retreat to a more rational, more serene environment. Furniture created from natural materials by talented craftsman (not factories) helps to create that atmosphere for our personal camp. These days you will find rustic decor in the most posh town homes and blended with all decor styles. Rustic was once viewed as the only choice for the poor working class, but today's designs often demand a premium for custom-made furniture, lighting and accent pieces.
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