Friday, January 30, 2015

Using Reclaimed Materials: A Lesson in Liberty

As my husband and his father cut through an exterior wall to extend a closet, they tossed little chunks of gnarled wood into a heap in the grass.  As soon as I saw those worn scraps, I had a vision for them.  They were distinctive. They had history. They were going to be treasure!  I gathered them up and stowed them away until the creative juices could flow.  And flow they did. After a little hunting I discovered that what I had was some original Dutch Lap siding –the full 7.5” hardwood planks. Even with years of paint and dust, they had a sweet charm.   I made a set of word signs.

 And then another.

 And another.
I had so many ideas, I ran out of raw material.  I had exactly enough to complete five 3 piece sets.   I was eager to continue production. They were bold, beautiful, and totally unique.  They carried the power of God’s Word with such simple elegance.  I wanted to make MORE!!!  I’m not going to say the thought didn’t cross my mind. In fact, I might have even asked my husband very nicely…but, in the end, ripping the rest of the siding off the house just didn’t seem to make sense.  So, we set them aside and kept busy with other projects.   But, I couldn’t seem to walk away from the idea.  New verses kept presenting themselves as perfect candidates for my “salvaged siding signs”.  But, I had no more siding to salvage.  What to do? What to do?

I realized that this would be a reoccurring issue as we used up the materials we had on hand.  Some pieces were very old and very unique.  I felt very limited by the ability to make only one item when I had so many variations dreamed up.  Overall, I wanted our products to be genuine.  I wanted our shop to have heart. And I struggled with the idea of new materials mixed with the old.  Should we just use up everything we have and go hunting for more? Should we find local lumber and build our own “vintage-looking” items?  Or stick only to “reclaimed wood” and “salvaged hardware”?  Choosing a direction we felt comfortable with was a journey.  We walked the fence for a while, asking the Lord to bring clarity and peace.  And we know He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. So, it wasn’t long before we had our answer.  He made it clear that although the inspiration may come from reclaimed material, we are not tied to that.  He lovingly showed us that those salvaged items were there to inspire us, but not necessarily sustain us.  And they certainly weren’t there to bind us. We were free to find a new source.   I love that about God. He paid a great price for our freedom and spends a great deal of time reminding us to walk in that liberty.  I am learning to recognize bondage in any form as contrary to God’s will in my life. When I settle on that truth, it makes decisions so much easier. 

So, asking around our tiny town, we found a supplier that could order some Dutch Lap Siding in…and we’re back to work! 

This wood did not come from the side of an old farm house with rich historical value, but it is still treasure to me. It taught me a precious lesson: Liberty itself is a treasure. 

Now that I am free to create to my hearts content, the possibilities abound.  Single Word signs, color combos, Nursery d├ęcor, gallery sets, and more!!
And this time, we have enough materials to allow for custom orders – so, you can dream up your own variations!
Visit our shop and design your own!

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