Susan Kolb - Red Pine Pottery & Twigs

345 Wolfe Road

Ortonville, Michigan



"Although Rustic Twig Furniture has been around for centuries, it has been the baby-boomers who have rediscovered it. Attracted by the sample simple, natural magnetism that has drawn various social and philosophical movements, the Rustic look appeals to the corporate burnouts, the naturalists and the members of the growing "back to the land" movement. Rustic has the romance, the air of self-sufficiency, the no-overhead look, and the natural spiritualism, later recognized as "low tech-high touch."

"A successful rustic chair has life. It has the life of the tree and the spirit of the maker. The result is animation: a chair that seems as if it could move; a chair that makes you feel as if it might walk out of the room when you leave."

"The joy of a rustic piece comes first from the simple fact of its existence; secondly, from the way it echoes the shapes and textures of nature and thirdly, from the unique way in which a particular piece combines the elements of a tree into a creation that pleases the viewer."

- From Daniel Mack's Making Rusic Furniture

These ideas reflect my own long-held conceptions of rustic furniture and have continued to motivate my work with twigs since I began in the early 90's. The designs of my chairs today are quite intricate and complex and are much more than simple designs that look nice "planted in the garden." Applying the principles of ergonomics, each chair I create today is very comfortable and conforms to the curves of the human body. A bit different from other twig artists: I often utilize clay titles that I've made in the clay studio and interlace them with the twigs.

Although rustic furniture making has many styles, I seem to always come back to working with willow. This is a supple material that can be manipulated into curved, flowing designs for simple pieces or can be woven into a curvaceously complex pieces that often leave you breathless. My interest in twig furniture was piqued during summer camp when I was 16 years old, but largely remained dormant until I came across Bill Perkins, a Michigan twig furniture artist, at an art fair in the late 80’s. I fell in love with his work and bought many chairs until I started again "playing with twigs" myself. Between the mentoring from him and classes with Clifton Monteith, my designs have grown tremendously.