Saying More With Less

"Some Day We'll Linger in the Sun" is the beautiful song  Gaelynn Lea wrote to her husband, Paul. Every word and haunting violin note is on the money, revealing the absolute, raw, truthful essence of the artist. Take a listen and see if you are not moved by it’s purity and honesty.

An artist's challenge is to stay honest, to pare down the indulgence of our imagination and find this uncompromising vital energy -- the essence.

In an ongoing search to dig deeper and say more with less, the Miller man set out to design a minimal, low table, unencumbered with excessive pattern. Cutting slim shapes of dyed veneer into neutral maple created the foundation. Adding colored circles provided a focal point, and balancing curved and straight lines of inlay, supplied a delicate contrast. 

Each table can be flat packed for ease of shipping with a choice of either patterned or plain colored legs. Simple assembly is required with four bolts and an allen key.

Meet our three designs for Sparely There Coffee Table:   Boing;   A Fine Line;   All About the Curve:

The Name Game

What makes a name compelling and relevant? We are often asked why our furniture styles are tagged Shorty, Slim Jim, and Squared Away and our initial answer is the names reflect their size and shape. However, the truth lies more in the characters they revealed while transitioning from sketch to final product.

We formed a genuine affection for our first design, short in stature but tough in stance, and named this small, square table "Shorty" to reflect its personality -- part underdog, part rascal. The name evoked the memory of the country boy in the song "Cut Across Shorty Cut Across", a track from Rod Stewart's Gasoline Alley album, released in 1970, and sung in Rod's early raw and raspy style. Though small in stature, our scrappy, country lad won the heart of Miss Lucy, racing against the longer-legged Dan who had all the money and better looks. As the song says, "Shorty musta had that something boys, that can't be found in books."

Meet a few of our Shorty tables, nothing fancy, just scads of character determined to win your heart.

Mirror, mirror on the Wall

As long as we have been designing, we have adhered to the idea that “less is more”.  Indeed for those of you who know Michael, there will be much nodding of heads in agreement that he lives and breathes this philosophy, being a man of a few well-chosen words.  Hence I write this blog and the Miller man tosses in a few words here and there for me to catch and make into magic!  However, his spare style of communication belies a discerning eye, a wicked sense of humor, and a design aesthetic that reflects both these traits.

Adding a mirror to our range seemed like a fun project.  Inspired by his minimal tendencies and a long-term appreciation for the simple, graceful proportions of ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging (wildly used as inspiration by many florists today), our Miller man has set to the task with relish and a bunch of challenges.  Ikebana arrangements are known for their form, line and use of negative space, creating a perfect balance of delicate harmony.  It is relatively easy to draw or paint a sweeping curve of imagined grasses, less so to create with inlay, wood, and tools.

1) Michael’s preliminary sketch;  2) lining up the router to cut a narrow, shallow groove into the surface of the veneer; 3/4) the inlay is glued into place; 5) the inlay is trimmed and made flush with the surface; 6) a section of the first prototype frame.

A challenge to make beautiful curves? Definitely. Worth the effort? Yes. 


How the Bowler Hat made an Idea Spring to Life

What is it about a bowler hat that is so intuitively entertaining? Just the thought of an unforgiving black dome perched on the head of a well-dressed man is guaranteed to make us smile as it conjures up images of Monty Python's famous "Ministry of Silly Walks."

A few months ago, the bowler hats now featured in our Katman series started to crop up on a page of sketches I was doing, while trying to catch an idea which kept eluding me: a story floating around my head involving two cats and a chance encounter with a tall thin man, who appeared at times as Jacques Tati's innocent, lovable character in the classic film "Mon Oncle" and other times as a rather bewildered British man. I drew three bowler hats tossing and turning in my imaginary stormy day and suddenly it all came together! The cats caused havoc as our bowler hatted gent tried and failed to gain the upper hand and the cats plotted an adventure to escape and.......but, wait, that's a whole other story.