The Stories Behind a CustomMade Connection: A Custom Cutting Board Wedding Gift by DST Studio
There’s a story behind every custom project, and some pieces are also designed to tell a story. CustomMade’s own Eric Toczko, Director of Business Development, recently commissioned Shawn Turley of DST Studio to create a cutting board for his newlywed friends. Eric writes in his review:
Worth the wait!! Shawn was a bit backed up but promised that the cutting board would be awesome. It did not disappoint!!! The bride and groom loved this as a wedding gift. And as Shawn’s first try with turquoise work, he did an amazing job!
Let’s take a closer look at the project, the story of the newlyweds, and the story of how it all came together in this unique custom creation by DST Studio.
Eric wanted a custom wedding present that would not only make a great housewarming gift but also tell a story:
My friends Kevin and Giselle were recently married. I wanted to get them something custom made, since they have a cool story themselves. He is from Massachusetts, she is from Mexico, and the two met working on a cruise ship. She moved up to Boston, and they were wed in Boston harbor.
Eric’s idea was a custom wood cutting board in the shape of the United States and Mexico, with each country made from a native wood. He posted his project and his friends’ story on CustomMade’s “Get it Made” job board and waited for an artisan to respond to his request.
Furniture maker and sculptor Shawn Turley has created pieces as diverse as the Forsythia chair (recently featured on our blog), a very cool one-of-a-kind monster truck bed, and a sculptural representation of “Wind.” His goal is “to challenge the norms of furniture aesthetics and traditional construction processes while maintaining high construction standards.” He writes:
I strive to create work that is new and innovative yet comfortable and eclectic. Nature, tools, and mechanical processes are my more common influences, but my eyes are always open. My work is about a vision, not efficiency, although it tends to be very ergonomic. My design comes from play and experimenting with different materials. I don’t always have a clear vision for the piece as a whole, but if I solve part of the puzzle here and there, eventually it becomes one.
The story behind Eric’s project appealed to Shawn, and he responded to Eric’s post. Eric was excited that a full-fledged studio furniture maker took an interest in his “little board” idea and commissioned Shawn for the project.
The two brainstormed about the look of the piece, woods, scale, and a turquoise inlay. They communicated mostly via email and some phone calls. For the native woods, Shawn offered Eric some options and recommendations, and Eric chose cherry and granadillo woods. To get a sense of the work involved in the project, here is excerpt from an update Shawn emailed Eric:
The cutting board is coming along nicely. The United States and Mexico are glued together with the tiger maple butterfly joints. The two were cross-laminated for strength, so there is no short grain (weak grain). I have done some work with the turquoise but still have to finish that. I also have to sand and oil the cutting board. Sanding the outside edge is very tedious and time consuming, unfortunately, no short cuts can be used, like a palm or orbital sander. I work as a teacher tomorrow. So it will likely be finished by Friday or Saturday. I will keep you posted. I think you will be very pleased.
Eric was happy he found an artisan who was very personal and “helped me shape my project and really took the reins on it for me.” When Eric saw Shawn had placed the turquoise inlay into the Rio Grande River, he was “absolutely blown away.”
Shawn’s design approach accommodates his client’s needs and aesthetic sensibilities. Whether the client has a fixed design scheme or just an overall vision, he writes:
I believe that anything can represent one’s taste and personality. Part of my goal is to create a work of art that is truly custom. The final design should represent a unifying vision between the artist and client.
Whether the project is big or small, Shawn will give it the attention it deserves. Eric recalls:
I commissioned him back in October. Right after that a very large custom project came his way (from CustomMade), so we had to push it out. He kept telling me not to worry, that it was going to be awesome. I knew it would because he’s a studio furniture maker doing this cutting board. I kept waiting, hopeful. Then this morning (December) he said it’s done and the whole office was blown away.
The newlyweds loved the cutting board, which not only represents their union but is also the first turquoise work by DST studio, and Eric earned major thoughtfulness and style points with his friends.
To see more examples of Shawn’s work, browse the DST Studio portfolio on CustomMade. Read more rave reviews from Shawn’s customers and contact him for a custom furniture, sculpture, or kitchen accessory commission for yourself or as a truly memorable gift.