Reading Between The Lines


More on the “Spirit” of materials- pieces like these celebrate the Natural Beauty of wood & the individual tree’s story. Cross-sections of trees reveal many secrets about their life and ecosystem, such as:

Age by the number of rings
Directional orientation
The predominant direction of the wind
Annual climate fluctuation
Health of the ecosystem
Tramas & healing
& the Will to Live!
Bringing Wisdom & Natural Beauty to your home or any space, this particular piece reveals 3 Hearts!

Do you know what other things are revealed by wood?

Process: Sharpening A Card Scraper

FNY member Nico Yektai has brought it to our attention that he has uploaded a how-to video about Sharpening A Scraper Blade. The video introduces the scraper blade as the “pound for pound” most powerful tool in the wood shop. Yektai uses the scraper blade in his studio while making his pieces of handcrafted art furniture. His process is a combination of the different techniques that he was exposed to at the School For American Craftsmen at RIT. He points out that there are manny ways to raise the burr and that he hopes this video will help those who are trying to get started with this dark art.

Eleven Reasons (and counting) Why You Should Buy Furnishings in New York


You are building a relationship with a local craftsperson. There may come a time when you have a job which is very custom or so small that is going to be nearly impossible to track down someone to do it. If you have built a relationship with a local craftsperson you understand their abilities and often they will be willing to take on odd or small jobs which others would not.

You are keeping to money local. New York may seem like a large community but the amount spent on furnishings is also large and by keeping that money here you are helping the local economy. Otherwise that money is very likely to leave not only the state but the country as well.

You are a patron of the arts. The decorative arts have long traditions and as a client you are a patron of the craftspeople, helping to maintain the knowledge and art for future New Yorkers. Recently I heard that many homes in Puerto Rico which had ornate exterior ironwork and castings were being restored but that the local techniques had died out and the shops had closed leaving the clients to settle for poor imported versions of the decorations they once had.

You can see things as they are being built. How bright is that blue? Does it match with the tile? Will my odd collection fit in the drawer? With a local designer you can get real answers to these questions and very often make changes to avert what would have been a disaster with an out of town designer.

You eliminate a lot of wasteful steps. Shipping of finished pieces great distances is always nerve racking as well as expensive and wasteful. Buying local saves miles of bubble wrap, crating materials and fuel as well as saving your sense of calm.

You know what the ingredients are. Items made here are made from only approved and tested materials. You know the paints and glazes are lead free. You know the dyes are nontoxic. If an item says it is green certified you have a way to check on the sourcing of that product.

You can talk directly to the designer or builder of your piece. You may have a picture in your head of exactly what you want but if your designer can’t understand that vision the craftsperson won’t be able to create it. Meeting face to face, discussing samples and finishes, sketching things out or mocking them up will be your best chance of communicating your vision, and you seeing when the designer “get’s it”.

We can make anything. The best craftspeople in the world come to New York to work for the most exacting clients. The skillset that most designers and craftspeople bring with them to The City is incredible and when you add in the networks we have built between us we can build anything you could possibly dream up.

That New York cache. A New York makers mark carries an unexplainable value. Perhaps it the the tradition of leading design or the aspiration to be in the heart of things, but a piece made in New York carries a bit of the city with it always.

New York has access to the finest materials and suppliers. A design market as big as New York can support the very highest end importers and suppliers. Whether it’s parchment, veneer, marble or huge slabs of exotic woods the very best are sent here.

New York is a city with a long design history which is on the cutting edge of design. This means that whether you are looking for a traditional piece or something truly new we can design it here. What’s more we can integrate the newest technologies and materials within the tradition of design.

Custom Made Rugs: Everything You Need To Know

Barbara Barran, President Classic Rug Collection, Inc.

So you’ve selected the upholstery fabric of your dreams, the draperies look fantastic, the walls are exactly the right color, but the room still looks incomplete. What’s the easiest way to pull the room together? With a one-of-a-kind custom rug.

Sure, you could run all over looking for the perfect color to co-ordinate with your sofa or walls, but what are the odds of finding exactly what you need? And what if the space calls for a rug that isn’t a perfect 6’ x 9’? Or you need a shape that will accommodate the heating vent on the floor? At this point, you should start considering a custom area rug.

I’m the owner of and rug designer for Classic Rug Collection, a custom rug company located in New York City. When I design rugs, I start by asking a lot of questions. I want to know about the colors that you like—and the ones that you dislike! Color is never a problem with custom rugs because the yarn can be dyed to whatever color you need. I take a look at pictures of the furniture, samples of the paint colors and fabrics, and the layout of the room. I’ll ask you to have a look at some of the designs on my Website, or to look through a book of sketches at my showroom. Then I’ll make some suggestions based on this information. I’ll do a few preliminary sketches—80% of my rugs are one-of-a-kind designs—and pull together some colors.

I’ll also ask about the location of the room and the amount of traffic that it gets. For example, if you live in an upper-floor apartment, then people have already walked through the lobby and down the hallway before arriving in your home. Therefore, their shoes are probably pretty clean. If your home has a small vestibule, and people step into your living room almost before you know it, then dirty shoes are a real factor. This factor helps guide my fabric and color selections. The function of the room—if it’s for sleeping or TV viewing—also helps me decide on the rug’s construction type and fiber content.

The next step is to refine the design, making changes so that all of us are pleased. If possible, this meeting will take place in your home so that I can see what the colors look like in the actual light of your room. For major projects, I travel to the

residence to ensure that the colors work in the local light. If it’s not possible for us to get together, I’ll send the color poms to your home so that you can see how the colors look.

Once I have this information, I order a “strike-off,” a small sample that shows the colors and a portion of the pattern that will be used to make the rug. In two to three weeks, the strike-off arrives, and I’m ready to do the fine-tuning: I may change a color or modify the design. If necessary, I order another strike-off; if everything is fine, then I order the rug, which usually arrives in six to twelve weeks, depending upon its size and complexity.

For maximum cleanability, I recommend a hand-tufted rug made of New Zealand wool. The type of wool is important because New Zealand wool is one of the strongest in the world. It also dyes beautifully, and it has a lovely luster. Inexpensive rugs are made with Indian wool, which is much less desirable because the fibers break easily. Have you ever bought a rug that shed and shed, creating dust bunnies all over your home? That rug was probably Indian wool. This wool can also have an unpleasant smell to it, and it doesn’t dye evenly. So it pays to use the finest wool wavailable.

When making a hand-tufted rug, an artist draws the pattern in mirror image on a piece of fine monk’s cloth stretched on a frame. Each stitch is added individually, according to color. When the tufting is complete, the back of the rug is coated with latex and jute to hold the stitches in place. Then the rug is sheared and carved by hand, and the edges are trimmed using a big pair of scissors. So each rug is made completely by hand.

A tufted rug is perfect when you want a bold, graphic pattern or more intense color. The thick pile of this type of rug, about ½”, lends itself to carving. And the soft, chemically untreated surface of the rug makes this a great choice for families with young children or for people who like to plop down on the floor!

More elegant rugs are hand-knotted. This is the technique that is used to make fine Oriental carpets. Each piece of yarn is tied around a long piece of fiber; the greater the number of knots, the finer and thinner the rug. My rugs range from 40-300 knots per square inch. When all of the knots have been added, the edges of the rug are serged(sewn by hand), and the surface is hand-sheared. Please visit the “All About Rugs” section of my website,, to see pictures that show how both types of rugs are made.

What knot count is best for you? A 100 knot rug is ideal for a runner or under a dining table because it is thin enough so that there’s no tripping hazard, and furniture will move smoothly over the surface of the rug. A lower knot count rug is good for a bedroom or family room, where you want a thicker, cozier feeling. It’s also less expensive, allowing you to save more of your rug budget for the higher impact areas, such as your formal living room. In this area, the knot count depends upon the complexity of the design and the elegance of the effect that you want to create.

When designing knotted rugs, I use a wide variety of fibers: wool, silk, hemp, linen—even pashmina. Often I will use two different fibers in the same rug to vary the visual texture of a piece. The vegetable-based dyes used to color the fibers lend a muted, antique look to these rugs. In some cases, I use undyed yarn to create rugs that are especially eco-sensitive.

All of these factors—manufacturing technique, knot count, complexity of the pattern, and composition of the fibers—determine the cost of a custom rug. My custom rugs range from $45-$295 per square foot, so it’s always best to share your budget with your rug designer. That way, I can provide the finest rug that suits your budget and meets your needs.

Owning an original work of art—a rug designed exclusively for you—gives years of pleasure, because a well-made, properly cared for custom rug will last a lifetime. If you haven’t yet designed your room, think about starting with the rug, as this is the piece that you will have for the longest time. And if you’re puzzled about how to finish off your existing space, call a rug designer!