Sunday, April 13, 2014

Behind the Bourbon Distillery Commissions:

We've been very fortunate this spring to have completed commissions for two local Bourbon Distilleries. The first was 37 pieces of furniture for Woodford Reserve's new visitor center in Versailles, Kentucky.

On one end of the spectrum of "design" sometimes we are asked to complete someone else's vision. In this case, the designs were provided to us by Brown Forman, where the drawings had been done by an international design practice based in New York City. Can we follow instructions? Yes we can! Before any work could start, we had to work out all the "bugs", find the answers to details that may not have been clarified by original concept sketches, provide finish samples, make clear CAD shop drawings and plan our budget(s) accordingly. Furthermore, we were asked to work with another local company who was preparing wood that they had reclaimed from older buildings on the distillery site. That's just pretty cool idea and it was our pleasure to help implement it. We provided Longwood Antique Woods of Lexington, the dimensions that we'd need the wood cut to, received it back from them on an agreed timeline, assembled all the furniture here at Maynard Studios & delivered it to Woodford Reserve. It was a very good thing that we had our "old shop" all nice & clean and ready for staging the assembly and storage, because that was a LOT of furniture ready to be delivered all at one time.  It was a commission that took many months from planning to completion including 6 weeks for a full time crew of 5 employees to create the pieces.  And we're proud to say that we completed the mission two weeks earlier than expected.

Creatively speaking, on jobs like this one you can still have a lot of say in how something is made, what finishes you'd like to use and, more importantly, you have to orchestrate the "dance" of things being created. I'm okay with the fact that these jobs that are little less "blacksmithing" and a little more "fabrication" because creating one-of-a-kind custom furniture is very fulfilling.

On the other end of design, our second distillery commission was for Maker's Mark in Loretto, Kentucky.

Rob Samuels' toast to the artists 4/12/14

This was a "Call for Artists" that we responded to. If you're an artist, you may have seen this kind of invitation before... You apply with a resume' and design idea/ proposal, and then wait to be notified if you have been selected to create a piece of artwork. Six artists were going to be chosen, so we were quite honored when we found that our application had been accepted. We had total control of the design and the production and during the creative process Matthew and I decided to add bronze elements and the open ended design proposal left us with the opportunity to work this way. We designed the piece collaboratively and worked on it together in our evenings and weekends.

Boy were we surprised when Rob Samuels himself made a toast to the artists and gave us a bottle of Makers Mark with our names engraved on it, during their annual spring Handcraft Festival this weekend. Nice unexpected gift!

I would like to point out, that in both cases the distilleries chose to commission local. Not only were we honored to be chosen to help celebrate these two historic landmark's new visitor's centers, we were proud to represent Kentucky makers and craftsmen by doing so. By keeping tax dollars in state and creating new jobs Matthew and I feel a great sense of pride for the commonwealth and the companies that chose us over "somewhere off".

Installation by Matthew & Karine Maynard at Maker's Mark in Loretto, KY
Tables in the Tasting Room by Maynard Studios at Woodford Reserve in Versailles, KY

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