July/Aug -Working in WOOD

July/Aug -Working in WOOD

Wood has carved deep roots through generations of my Swedish family. I have always been a 'stick' person...collecting special ones and finding ways to integrate them into my daily life. An interesting branch connects me to the delight and wonder I felt as an explorer in my childhood...grounding me like nothing else does. 

WOOD working is also an opportunity to use some of the same problem-solving skills as we use in sewing...I've been pruning alot this summer and just made my first chair and table! There are many videos on YouTube about making willow furniture. Here is the LINK to the one I found helpful. I watched it afew times before I started. Here are some of the construction basics about my table & chair projects.

I mostly used willow for the curved pieces and Crabapple for the frame. Other woods can be used too...I am eyeing a maple  to prune for my next chair project! The basic tools for working with twigs and branches are a good hand saw, pruning clippers, hammer, sanding block, drill, screw driver, screws, ring-neck nails and panel tacks. 

    The frame is made first (pre-drilled and screwed together for added strength). Then the curved pieces are bent in place and nailed. The 2 side pieces are made back-to back (as above) then the cross pieces added. 

Once the frame is complete, The longer pieces that will curve to make the arms, seat and back need to be pre-bent. Since they are green and pliable, it is easier than you might think to stretch the fibers in the branch...I like stepping on it along the curve and pulling up as in the photo. 

The chair really starts to take on more character as you work the sides and back! I loved bending and weaving the green willow into the shapes I wanted and tacking all the layers together.  Once the sides and back are in place, 7' lengths are needed to curve from the bottom of one side, across the top and down to tuck in on the other side. The finished chair is on the right.


The table project started with a process I really enjoy: I collaged a board for the top with brown paper (grocery) bags. I love the look! tear and wrinkle some bags and soak in water. Bruch white glue and water onto the board, then lay and brush pieces of the soaked paper onto the glue. Continue to add more paper pieces (in a pattern or randomly), brushing generously with glue and water. You can do nice corners too...and cover onto the back and I did with this top piece. As it dries, it shrinks tight and gives a great fit. If there are any bubbles, slit with a razor and add more glue and water and let it dry again.  Once dry, lightly sand any rough spots or corners. Next, I rubbed my top with a bit of Lumiere Metallic Paint in green and pewter mixed with water. Once that dried, I waxed the top with carnuba car wax for a lovely, waterproof surface. Trust me, you'll start looking for other things to cover and hoarding bags...this technique is addicting!!! 

I made a lightweight frame, cutting all the legs first and making 2 sides flat then attaching then with cross pieces. Adding more interesting shaped pieces for cross- bracing adds lots of character to these natural twig pieces! 

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When we were in Ashland a few years ago, I looked up your studio. Is that the location that you lost? That is right in town! I am so sorry to hear. But hoping that you are well and safe.

Emiko Tom

I have just learned from Marcy Tilton that you lost everything in the fire. I am so saddened and sick about it. If your shop was remote and still taking orders, I’d like to order some of your patterns and stencils to support your business. I am so very sorry 😩

Carrie McDade

You are so inspiring to me, too. Thanks!


You can do ANYTHING and with great style and beauty! Congrats, Diane, on always stretching yourself and finally getting to something you’ve wanted to do for so long!

Gayle Ortiz

Oh WOW, I am impressed. The chair and table are beautiful, just so beautiful. I am amazed at your prowess. I have lots of pieces of small twigs from the ocean there and just use them in many ways. Must think about something else to do with them. Trish Sande

trish sande

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