Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Hickory Tree

Today our featured Artist is Linda from The Hickory Tree

1. Why and/or how did you get interested in making your products?

I first started making Wooden Tree Branch Buttons about 10 years ago. I am a sewing fanatic and I love to make clothes for dolls and stuffed animals. I was up north at my parent’s cabin in Michigan and my daughter and I were making clothes for a big stuffed bear that sat in my mom’s front room. I made the bear some suspenders but didn’t have any buttons to sew onto the straps. Town was 25 miles away so my mom made a comment that her dad; my grandpa use to make buttons out of tree limb slices way back when she was little, and so I decided to give it a try. The first buttons I made were crooked and way too thick, but still looked kind of cool. I made quite a few more buttons over the years for friends and family but never thought of making them to sell. In 2006 I opened an Etsy shop and I sold shoulder bags, totes and dog beds under SleepyDogDesigns. Well sales were pretty slow so I put a wooden tree branch button on one of my shoulder bags and I got 5 emails that day asking where I’d bought the button from. It didn’t take long or a lot of thought to realize I was selling the wrong art. So I changed direction and now I specialize in Wooden Tree Branch Creations.

2. Do you make/design the product or do other people help you?

Everything I make and in my wood shop is designed and created by me. My specialty is Wooden Tree Branch Buttons, Wood Gift Tags, Rustic Wedding Decor and Natural Tree Branch Jewelry. I always have new designs and styles I’m either working on or thinking about at any given moment. Many of my wonderful buyers on Etsy have given me fantastic ideas too. My only obstacle is time, or lack of it. I work full time so my wood shop creations are made after work and on the weekends. My husband helps behind the scenes. He is my chief equipment mechanic and head of the wooden gift tag twine tying station. When my saws, drill presses or sanders breakdown he orders parts and gets them up and running again. He also built this wonderful Pole Barn for me. Likewise when I have gift tag orders, he ties the twine on them to save me time.

3. What is the favorite piece you have made and why?
One of my favorite pieces was a business card holder I made out one of my Dad’s favorite trees, a Black Walnut. The wooden tree branch car is a roadster and I made the original one for my son because he’s Forestry major at Michigan Tech University and will be graduating soon.

These are some of Lindas other favorite peices:

Aren't these unique?

4. Do you do craft shows? If so what shows will you be doing in the next few months?
I wanted to try and attend Castle Farms Fiber Festival in Charlevoix, Michigan in July. But my daughter got married this July so I was busy preparing all her wedding decor and made a decision not to any more until after the wedding. I am planning on showing at the Sheep and Wool Festival at Mt. Bruce Station in Romeo, Michigan on September 24th And 25th, 2011.

Make sure to stop by and say Hi to Linda!

4. Can you tell us what your favorite part of your business is?
My favorite aspect of my business is the hunt in the woods to find that perfect tree branch. Your adrenaline gets going and it is so much fun finding a hidden jewel among the trees. One of my favorite finds is Spalted Maple and Oak wood. Spalting is an aging process a tree limb goes through as it ages affecting the color of the wood. Tree branches must be thoroughly dried before they are used as a button or gift tag. If they aren’t they can crack and or shrink when they are drying. So the best kind of limb is one that has already fallen off the tree usually due to a storm or advanced age of the tree or a limb that has been cut and dried by utility companies or tree trimming crews then aged for a year or two.

If you would like to see what other goodies Linda has, you can shop one line at her etsy shop:The Hickory Tree
You can also follow Linda on her blog:

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