Thursday, January 24, 2019

A whole lot of love

If you've worked with us or follow us on social media you'll have seen a whole lot of love in our correspondence and our posts. That's not a 'marketing ploy'. It's real. 
It's all about the love that David and I have for the work we do and how grateful we are for each and every one of you.

In 7th grade, I was fortunate to have had a truly inspirational teacher.  He inspired and encouraged my love of acting and writing and set me on a course that would have a huge impact on my life.  At the end of Grade 7 which was the transition point from Elementary School to Junior High, my beloved teacher, Victor Wilson gave me with a copy of 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran with a personal note of love and encouragement inscribed on the inside cover. I will never forget that marvelous teacher and have always felt The Prophet to be my own personal book of psalms.
When I consider my life and my work, a single phrase from Gibran often comes to mind. 

"Work is love made visible."

Here is an excerpt from Kahlil Gibran
'On Work'
"And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching."

This is how David and I approach our work. 

After almost two decades of Touch Wood Rings and working with folks from all over the world, it is still just the two of us and our hands and hearts committed to you, your beloved and your rings.  That's our guarantee. 

When an individual or couple chooses to work with us ~ we are honoured and humbled.  By the time David is creating a ring for you, we count you among our friends. You become part of our family. That's our promise, With Love. Always.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

A new chapter of hope and love.

Hi, it's Adam Lucas here from Australia. In 2012 David made my wonderful wooden wedding ring. A few years later I had him make one for my wife also.

When last we spoke, my wife and I were celebrating Christmas with her new ring, and our new baby!! I think I may have even sent through some of those photos to you, all that time ago.

Since then life has been crazy!! We have had our second child, which resulted in some severe health problems for Kelli my wife during childbirth. This resulted in us having to move 400km to Brisbane, Australia for her continued care. We only arrived back home in our coastal town of Bundaberg in March of this year. It has been a very rough 2 years but thankfully has ended with a wonderful result of a great recovery for her and the resumption of our normal family life.

During her health battles, as mentioned, we had to leave our family home for almost 2 years. During this time away I lost my beloved wedding ring, but did not stress as I had bigger things to worry about!!!

But in a tearjerking touch of fate, I managed to be reunited with my ring in the most amazing circumstances. After witnessing the miracle that saw my wife unexpectedly recover and my family being allowed to return home, I went into our bedroom in our family home the day we moved back in and found my wedding ring sitting on a bedpost, where I had absent-mindedly left it during a fly-by-night trip back home to collect belongings for my wife's prolonged hospital stay. This was such a beautiful moment and was a symbol of our 'new' marriage and our life re-starting in a new chapter of hope and love.

Adam's 2012 Touch Wood Ring. 
Black Walnut, Eucalyptus inlay bordered by Greyed Maple
and lined with Clear Juniper

So, the reason for my writing is that I have decided that to mark this gorgeous occasion, I would like to send my ring back for some fine tuning if I may. I would love to have it sized down to an Australian size 11 if that is at all possible (I believe it is a 12 at present) and for it to be re-varnished/lacquered if possible. I have lost a fair bit of weight since my wedding day 6 years ago, and would love to get the ring on board with my new figure!!

How might I proceed with this request, and is it possible to make the changes I would like? I am, of course, happy to pay for whatever expenses this incurs.

I hope this story of your wonderful work becoming such a symbol of our marriage was worth me telling, I thought of you both often when wearing my ring these past few months. You truly made a little piece of magic that has survived more than I ever intended to put it through!

Thanks, guys, love to you both.

Adam Lucas

Want to watch something totally uplifting?  Here is a link Adam shared to the Today show story on Australian national morning news.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Thank You!

We have not fallen off the face of the earth, just replaced blogging with Social Media it seems. We are on Instagram and Twitter and Pinterest and Facebook. It's time consuming. It's also a great way to reach people. And it's fun. The social aspect is what I love about it; the feedback, the ease of sharing.
However, I miss writing our blog posts. Personally, I like it as a record of our work,and it's a wonderful way to share the stories of folks we work with.

Our clients (you!!) are the most amazing, warm, loving people! 

And really, our story is your story. 
We thank you for entrusting us with the creation of your rings!
Whether they are wedding or engagement rings, a birthday gift, memorial or anniversary rings; we are humbled that you entered into this relationship with us. 

THANK YOU for enriching our lives these past 16 years with your stories.
You’ve shared your hopes and dreams, your struggles, your joys and your sorrows with us.
Sometimes we’re the first to know that you plan to propose, the first to know you’ve decided
to elope, the first to know just how deeply in love you are! 

For David and I, you are why we do this work and your stories are what sustain us.

Awesome people you are!  One and all.  

Like Lauren and Chris who are artist/illustrators. In February, while David was making their rings; Lauren and I were chatting about spring, and Chris's birthday and that kind of thing. She wrote, "Things are finally starting to warm up here in Texas so we took the opportunity to bring our dogs out on the town! Austin is a super dog-friendly city and a lot of the bars serve non-alcoholic "doggy beer." Looks like Cicero might have had one too many in this photo :P " 

After Chris and Lauren received their rings, they wrote: "Thank you both again so much for all you do, we could not have asked for a better experience. We will definitely send you photos from the wedding in a few months!"

Much love to you both Lauren and Chris ~ we look forward to some pics from your Lord of the Rings themed wedding (yah) and we're hoping that Bilbo and Cicero will be taking part in the celebrations as well.  Because... Pugs. :) 

And thank you all ~ With dearest love.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Poetry, Graffiti and Wildfires

In early June, a lovely couple from the Kootenays commissioned a set of Touch Wood Rings. Matty is a Graffiti Artist and Leesa is a writer. We had so much fun working with them and were delighted to learn that they would be passing through our area and were adventuresome enough to want to come out and meet us and pick up their rings in person.

David and I live remote and off grid west of Williams Lake ~ it's not the easiest place to get to; over the years we've met only a few of our thousands of awesome Touch Wood clients.
Leesa and Matty were planning a trip across BC and over to Haida Gwaii where they planned on being engaged. Not only were we looking forward to meeting them, but then they'd be heading to Haida Gwaii; the home of my heart. I had the good fortune of being a child on those magical rainforest islands.
So. June was a pretty normal kind of June. We had a flush of summer weather and were making summer plans; things we wanted to do around the property, a few quick trips we wanted to make, scheduling visits from family and friends who wanted to come out and visit.

And then All Hell Broke Loose. 
Wildfires erupted on July 7th. We were placed on Evacuation Order on July 10th. 62 days in total. An entire summer surrounded by the worst wildfires in BC's recorded history.

Leesa and Matty were planning their trip. Roads and highways were closing all over the province as wildfires flared and new fires sprang up. There was no way in to our place and no way out. The City of Williams Lake was evacuated and so even though David completed their rings, there was no way to deliver them ... This was a first for us in 17 years of  making rings.  Matty and Leesa took it all in stride. They found another route around to get to Haida Gwaii but had to forego having their rings with them and we were sorely disappointed.

The evacuation orders for the residents of Williams Lake were finally lifted and we were able to ship once Canada Post resumed service. It was a very difficult and stressful summer but in the end we are just SO thankful that we didn't lose our home or property Others, sadly, did not fare so well.

Once Matty and Leesa were back in the Kootenays, they wrote saying .... "We are home and the long awaited moment finally arrived today when we trotted down to the post office to pick up the most important package. 

We shipped along happily to the lakefront to open the envelope like children on Christmas morning. 

We absolutely love the rings and, of course, they fit us like they have always been a natural part of our bodies. Thank so much! From our hearts to yours. Matty and Leesa."

And then earlier this month (Jan 2018) we opened our email to find these awesome pics and a happy note from our Kootenay friends.

"Matty and I recently got married in Hawaii and we wanted to send you a few pics of the rings. We are thrilled to have them out and about​​! They are comfortable and beautiful and we love them so. 
Thank you for being an important part of our union. ... we brought the Hawaiian Koa wood back to its homeland for a visit :) 
Much love, Matty and Leesa"

Matty and Leesa's rings were made of Hawaiian Koa Wood with Purpleheart wood liners and inlays of Lapis Lazuli, Mother of Pearl and Oak with natural knots.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sacred Red Cedar, White Pine and Juniper wood rings for Katie and Ian

Katie and I began our conversation in November last year shortly after she and Ian were engaged. She told us that they always try to support local businesses and people who are living and working sustainably. We're so happy they chose to work with us. What an awesome couple!

Katie and Ian gathered branch wood with special meaning to them; Western Red Cedar from the Vancouver Island, and White Pine and Juniper root from Georgian Bay in Ontario.

I know I've said this before but it's a little like being a kid on Christmas morning when David makes the first cuts into a special branch and we get a glimpse at the figure and colours of the wood.
Always, with respect and gratitude to the trees whose branches were shared.  
David made suggestions on which woods would be most beautiful and most durable for their rings. They decided on the Juniper root for the primary wood, the Georgian Bay White Pine for the liners and inlays of their Western Red Cedar.

They were married in September and recently sent us some pics of their celebration :) and this lovely email.

"Here's what we said about the rings during our ceremony. We wanted to highlight their symbolism in our vows, and we also had them passed around among our guests in a "ring warming" ceremony so everyone could place a wish on the rings for us before we put them on. 

The white pine and juniper root symbolize our deep roots in Ontario and our love for our families and friends who live there and for the people and landscape that made us who we are.
The western red cedar symbolizes our choice to continue building our life together on the west coast, our friendships made here and our mutual love of adventure in the mountains.

The juniper root reminds us how relationships can sometimes be prickly, but are also resilient.

The white pine, which leans away from the west because of the wind, reminds us to stand tall and proud, and also that sometimes you need to bend and compromise to be successful in your environment.

The western red cedar reminds us to always keep growing and to have a long life of providing for and nurturing those around us.

We're absolutely loving them! Thanks again! I hope the photos and our words help show our appreciation for all of the hard work you both put into making our rings so special. :)
All the best, Katie and Ian"

~ Wedding photos by @braceyphoto ~

Our congratulations and our thanks to Katie and Ian. 
With dearest love ~ as ever.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Franciscan Tau Cross Wood Ring

We had the pleasure and honour recently of working with Christine on a very special commission. 

We've had wonderful conversations over the course of working together and we shared a lot with each other. 
Christine is getting ready to enter a Franciscan Third Order 
of Seculars. 
She wanted a wooden ring with the Tau Cross ~ as a gift to herself and the last before she takes her vows (one of which is poverty).

David created Christine's Tau ring of Purpleheart wood with inlays of Hawaiian Koa and Cherry. 

It was designed after Christine's only other adornment; her Tau necklace. It's a wooden cross on a cord, with three simple beads signifying her vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

"I just love the ring! And love you and David. Thank you soooooooo much! 
Wasn't it Michelangelo who said he just chipped away around the image? The end result spoke to him, and he listened! I would imagine David "becomes one " with the wood and design.
Nicola, it's odd how intimate this process has been - I bet you hear that a lot! It didn't feel like a business transaction let alone an internet business transaction!

"Love your pictures and your writing, Nicola - and your attention to detail re: marketing, operations, logistics, and hand holding; you are sort of a midwife in the birthing process of creating the rings!! You wear so many hats, so well!"

Thank you so much Christine. It's been a real pleasure working with you and getting to know you. 

Joy and Peace be with you ~ and much love from both of us as you take your vows and enter your Franciscan Order.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Touch Wood Rings, Pear and Inner Peace

Touch Wood Rings for Kait and Josh ~ Pear and Hawaiian Koa

 The symbolism associated with pear trees speaks of prosperity, longevity and inner peace.
Fellow Canadians Kait and Josh first contacted us in March. 
They wanted to use pear wood from a tree that has significance to them and were hoping to incorporate the heartwood and the sapwood in their designs.
David and I often say that cutting a branch of wood makes us feel like kids on Christmas morning. It is always a gift to discover the wood inside a branch and this pear wood was a delightful surprise. The heartwood of Josh and Kait's pear branch was beautiful and the sapwood had real character too. Perfect for their designs.
They chose a rich Hawaiian Koa as the primary wood for their rings with spiraled inlays of their pear heartwood and sapwood and interior liners of the lighter pear sapwood to accommodate their inscriptions.  
When we sent final photographs of their rings, Kait wrote: "We are just blown away! The rings are so beautiful! The pear wood looks great with the koa!! I can't believe we have to wait until our wedding in October to wear them!"

It's August now :) so not too much longer to wait ...
We look forward to some photos from your wedding and we hope you have an exciting and happy few months leading up to your Fall celebration.  Remember to breathe!

Much love, as always
Nicola and David

Sunday, July 16, 2017

'Touch Wood' is an apropos business name right now

Dear Touch Wood friends and followers,

I want to update you on our wildfire situation here in the Cariboo and throughout the BC interior. We have been getting emails from our Touch Wood friends asking if we are safe and we thank you all so much for your concern!! You are like family to us and this month has been a challenging one so far.

We are working with a few lovely people this month on new commissions but are keeping our workshop and office work to a minimum while we prepare for what might be a life changing event.

Saturday afternoon. Smoke from the Hanceville fire to our south west...

The city of Williams Lake and some surrounding communities are fully evacuated as of Saturday afternoon and we are so sorry for all our friends and neighbours who have had to leave their homes to uncertainty and fear. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected; the evacuees, the firefighters, the people who have already lost homes and livelihoods, not to mention the devastation to the land, the birds and the wildlife.

We've been on evacuation order out here for a full week now but have chosen to stay because we have a very good likelihood of being able to protect our home, our property and our business. And it's not our first rodeo. We didn't evacuate during the 2010 wildfires either and those fires came as close as two km.

'Safety first' has always been our motto!! I think we're in better shape off grid than most people in neighbouring communities; where power is off and services have ground to a halt. We have our own solar power system, backup generator and fuel, satellite internet, good well water, and a cold room fairly well stocked with supplies. We have propane for hot meals until we can use our wood stove again :) A good size creek runs through our place which is a real blessing. And while this is a scary situation, wildfires kind of come with the territory. We will stay till we can’t and we are optimistic we can weather this storm.

Sunday early evening July 16th

For all three of us and the wee pup, the stress is a challenge. It's a good test of our sense of humour, our patience and gentleness with each other ~ our ability to think clearly and to prioritize. We have done and are doing everything we can to preserve this beautiful little corner of the Chilcotin. After a week of a crazy amount of work we are feeling quite safe. There are still things we are doing to make ourselves safer but for the most part it's back to normal for us now ... aside from being prepared to run if need be. We're keeping the hummingbird feeders filled (at least until the sugar runs out), staying vigilant, knowing our escape routes and counting our blessings.

You are welcome to follow our public posts on my personal Facebook page. David has been doing an awesome job of recording and sharing our fire protection efforts at the end of each day.

And as always, thanks for dropping by! Our love to you and your families! Stay safe and take care of each other. We'll do the same.

Touch Wood :) 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sharing some Love ~ from Meghan and Mary

Dear David and Nicola,

I wanted to write to you to thank you sincerely for creating such an extraordinary gift of love for Mary and I. Your Touch Wood Ring is unlike anything I've ever seen before. 

It fits perfectly and glistens beautifully in the sunlight. The stone and the Purple Heart Wood inlays are incredible. People love to linger over every impressive detail that you have carefully carved into the ring.

Mary proposed in a very memorable way and the ring is just stunning. We are both very happily engaged, and we have you to thank for giving us the token to remember that by. 

We hope you are enjoying the month of June and we hope to meet you someday.  

Thanks again for all the love and care you put into the making and the process of communicating about this ring. We will always remember this.

Thank you Meghan 💕 It was our absolute pleasure and honour to work with Mary on your ring. 
Mary put so much love and thought and care into it's design ~ and David thoroughly enjoyed creating it for both of you!  We send our dearest love ~ now and always ~ and wish you and Mary immeasurable joy in the days and years to come.  Congratulations and warm hugs from both of us to both of you.  

Friday, May 05, 2017

A short history of steam bent wood rings

Touch Wood Rings
Touch Wood Rings are steam bent wooden rings. While steam bending wood is an ancient art, David is the originator and pioneer of the steam bent method of building a wooden ring.

A wooden ring is hardly an oddity anymore. There aren't many people nowadays who haven't heard of or seen a wooden ring and lots of people wear them. When I first introduced David's bent wood rings online in 2003, a wooden ring was considered a bit of a joke.

That was then.

David and I are humbled and honoured to have started "a revolution in the jewelry industry", as a very early client of ours predicted.

There was only one other wood ring maker when I introduced David's work online. Dale Randles of Artistree Wood Art has offered his wood crafts online since 1998. The main difference is that Dale's rings were (and still are) carved wooden rings; not bentwood. 

Every other bent wood ring maker you find online now (and there are hundreds) came after David. We trained and mentored some of them and we've watched a whole industry grow up behind us. It's been pretty incredible really. Humbling.  

A Touch Wood Ring as a Work in Progress

Natural materials have been carved into objects of personal adornment ever since humans began adorning ourselves. Materials like shell, bone and stone have of course survived the ravages of time better than tiny carved wooden objects.

One carved wooden ring that has survived is in The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. They have in their collections a 'carved' Bog Oak Wood Ring from Ireland dating from about 1775. The museum doesn't have a picture of the ring online but here is a photo of a set of Irish Bog Oak Rings David made for couple a few years ago. The light wood in this set is Australian Huon Pine.

Irish Bog Oak Wood Rings with Huon Pine inlay and liners

Through my research, I've found references to a wooden finger ring (recovered) from an Egyptian mummy, and carved wood rings found on the battlefields of WW1 and WW2; sad reminders of too many young men who loved someone back home and quite likely lost their lives; leaving their little mementos of love to molder in the trenches.

Apple Wood Ring with Braided Birch Bark inlay

Finnish folklore of long ago offers a song about a young fellow making a birch bark ring for his beloved after he drank away all his money. This song was sent to us by one of our early clients who wanted a birch and birch bark ring for his Finnish girlfriend. Here is a rough translation of that song:
Heisuli hei, my song sings, I am a trouble free vagabond rascal! This boy drank his last coins, one cannot live rich. I made a golden ring out of birch bark, I will engage a girl for myself. This birch bark ring and my love lasts one night at a time. 

So, what is steam bending exactly?

"Bending wood dates back to antiquity in the form of baskets from willow branches. Fresh growth willow twigs are readily bent in practically any shape.

When wood has been separated from the tree and dried, it is more rigid, difficult to bend and breakable. Bending drier wood with the help of heat and water is centuries old. Fishing hooks, barrel staves, and planks turned into boat hulls are examples." Source

"There are three basic ways of softening wood fibers. The first is to heat moisture already in the wood. This means using already moist, green wood, or soaking dry wood to replace the necessary moisture, then using a fire, or other heat source to turn the water to steam. The second method is to create steam first, and then force the steam into the wood. The final method is to use boiling water to penetrate the wood fibers." Source

If you are interested in learning more about bending wood, Steven Edholm has an excellent blog post titled: Bending Wood: What you need to know.

Touch Wood Oak Rings featuring the natural figure and grain of the Oak wood.

And so it goes. 
Wooden rings would not be a reality if people like you didn't find them beautiful and have a desire to wear one on your finger. And we thank you!

Touch Wood Rings has always been just the two of us. David is the artist and craftsman and I (Nicola) do the other stuff. Talking with you is what I love most about my work.

We live remote and off grid on 48 acres in the Cariboo Chilcotin area of BC. Our nearest neighbour is 10 miles away and town is a 45 minute drive on a good day ~ over active logging roads. David's brother has a cabin here as well. Our 48 acres is precious to all three of us. We consider ourselves stewards of this little corner of the planet and we take that very seriously.

We live a good life. A quiet life. The real difference I find about living remote is that our lives are mostly uninterrupted. This uninterrupted time allows us to focus on the natural world around us and to focus on you and fulfill your desire for a hand crafted Touch Wood Ring. 

We are truly blessed. And ever thankful.
And we invite you to be in touch.
Please drop me a line at ~ I'd love to hear from you.
Visit our website (currently being updated, thank goodness)
And join us on social media is you like  Instagram,  TwitterFacebook and Pinterest

In closing, here are some snapshots from around our off grid homestead.
As always, thanks so much for dropping by!

The little log cabin that overlooks the creek

Wildflowers in July

Our place from overhead ~ the creek and hayfields

Nick and Kali on walkabout

On our walking trails, looking over at the homestead

Dandelion delight and solar panels

Mom and the young Mister with a cowbird along for the ride