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Fresh Shop: Andersen Familiar

Sep 20, 2012

by andersenfamiliar handmade and vintage goods

Every day, our community grows in unexpected and delightful ways. For our Fresh Shops series, sellers who have been on Etsy for a handful of months or are awaiting their first sale introduce themselves. Here’s a warm welcome to all our newbies!

My name is Hayley Andersen, and Andersen Familiar is my brand new little shop of experiments. At 24, newly graduated with a degree in architecture and unsure what to do next, I decided to follow my hands and my love of making, which lead me to bending plywood. I knew I needed some time before I would be ready to go back to graduate school, and furniture design was something I had been pursuing on my own throughout my undergrad years. So I decided to start small and learn some new skills I had a feeling I would need when it came down to the big projects. Bending plywood seemed like a good first step, and desk-top objects seemed like a small enough scale. And so, the idea of my bent plywood jewelry stands was born. I loved them too much to keep to myself (or to stop at one or two types).

I spent three or four months playing with different methods, different types of wood, different kinds of presses, and after developing a strong love for failed iterations, I found a shape and system worth perfecting. A whole five months later, here I am, sharing my first series of experiments with the world. Process is everything in my work — I wanted to learn every tiny step with my own hands — and for that reason, I tend to do things the long way around. I cut and match each layer of veneer by hand from larger rolls, soften them, glue overnight and do the trimming, sanding and detailing by hand. All of this in the hopes of having a better handle on the specific techniques when I am ready to progress to larger and more complicated pieces.

A certain amount of inspiration definitely comes from the modernist era of furniture design and the impact bent plywood had on the industry and in architectural design work. I was lucky enough to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a year, and the Scandinavian design sensibility rooted itself in my personal aesthetic. Then again, this is only the very beginning. The new series I am developing begins to incorporate steel and a bit of concrete — two more of my favorite materials.

I recently made the drastic move to a very rural part of Redding, California, where I am finding just enough fresh air and open space to generate a few perspectives and many, many new ideas. For the time being, my workspace is very temporary. I’m working out of my parent’s garage, taking advantage of my father’s many tools as well as some of his expertise, but many dreams are being dreamt of a fully functioning woodshop and studio space in the not-so-distant future.

All photos courtesy of Andersen Familiar.

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4 Featured Comments

  • imogensattic

    Imogen Greene from imogensattic said 4 years ago Featured

    I like that you are so totally immersed in the material and process, it shows in the finished designs- simple,elegant, practical and attractive, I think you're going to do well!

  • vurvdesign

    Glenn Ross from vurvdesign said 4 years ago Featured

    Hey - You're telling my story! I've been at it nearly 10 years now, and I have never regretted leaving architecture for furniture. It's a tough slog sometimes, but the slow life sure is a good one. I also find that entering into furniture design from an architecture background frees you from the conventions of traditional woodworking. Best part for me is that I spend more time actually designing than most of my architect friends who can spend days on end drawing window details in front of a computer. Good luck!

  • BunnysLuck

    Mary Anne from BunnysLuck said 4 years ago Featured

    I applaud and support any woman in architecture and the construction trades. It's a challenging career, but there is such a legacy of incredible women in this field that after seeing your designs, your commitment to the object, and your determination to create a fine product, I think you will do well, whether on a large or small scale. Please do also consider marketing these to independent jewelers. They would make STUNNING displays!

  • TuckamoreDesign

    Roxanne Button from TuckamoreDesign said 4 years ago Featured

    From one architect to another - great work! I love the simplicity and clean lines, and the craft. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work - congratulations on this feature.


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