Episode 13

Outdoor Furniture, Flutes, Paper


Ron RichRon Rich, Paper (website)

Oblation Papers, Portland, OR

Ron and Jennifer Rich founded Oblation Papers & Press in 1989. Together they made handmade paper using recycled fibres, flora and ferns in their kitchen blender. Today, their company includes a retail venue in Portland, Oregon’s artsy Pearl District, a letterpress print shop with traditional presses, some 100 years old, on which they handset type, an urban paper mill, and a flat printing and a wholesale product line. The company specializes in custom wedding invitations, baby announcements and personal correspondence, as well as, business and calling cards.

Dedicated to conservation, Ron, Jennifer and their staff use traditional techniques to make sheets of cotton paper by hand, using recycled remnants from the garment industry and unwanted paper products, converting them back to pulp, creating fresh, new paper. Custom invitations are set and printed in-house using soy-based inks and citrus solvents. Each distinctive piece is finished by hand.


Dennis McGuire, Flutes (website)Dennis McGuire

Brannen Brothers Flutemakers, Inc., Woburn, MA

In 2007, when Bickford Brannen decided to put his Woburn, Massachusetts company, renowned for making some of the finest flutes and headjoints in the world, on the market, who better to buy it than a group of Brannen’s experienced, dedicated managers. The buyers, including Dennis McGuire, now the Managing Director, Production and Quality Control, committed to maintain the company’s outstanding status, and excellence in flutemaking. Through innovation and collaboration, many might say, they’ve raised the bar.

Brannen Brothers Flutemakers boasts a unique and intense apprenticeship program pairing novice flutemakers with mentors as they journey, several years, through the levels, to the highest of Mastercraft. The company’s peer inspection procedure at each stage of a flute’s creation ensures each instrument meets the company’s high standards. Each employee takes pride in the making of flutes that are known worldwide for their quality, sound, consistent tone, quiet keys, smooth action and stability.


James Broyhill IIJames Broyhill II, Outdoor Furniture (website)

Heritage Handcrafted, Randleman, NC

Winston-Salem, North Carolina native, James T. Broyhill II has furniture making in his blood. Indeed, the Broyhill name has been associated with fine furniture for a century. Broyhill began learning the basics of working with wood, as a five-year-old, from his grandfather, who gave him a small workshop in the garage. From those early years, he developed a true passion for the process, but still pursued a career in investment real estate.

One day, on a whim, he took apart a vintage barrel in the small workshop next to his house, and decided to make “something.” The result of what he thought would be a one-off experiment was a unique piece of furniture.  Soon, going to work no longer meant riding the elevator to a corporate office. His new “office” was filled with tools, wood and a layer of sawdust.

Today in his Charlotte workshop, he builds one-of-a-kind, made to order chairs, tables, benches, cuff links, pendants, and more from reclaimed barrel wood, complete with all the quirks, scratches and historic character of the aged wood—all made the traditional way, as an homage to his family’s heritage, and as a way to fulfill his lifelong passion to create.

Read James’ “Meet the Artisan” Blog