Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mesquite Furniture takes a Sculptural Direction

So as we wrap up this year of mesquite furniture making and look back on the client list, projects and creative challenges we find that this was the year that Lou's work has REALLY jumped creatively. The exciting projects currently in house will be released in the coming New Year 2014 and show a leap in the direction of his work. Lou has been moving into a much more artistic and sculptural direction and these new pieces will certainly showcase that direction.
Wood Jig
Lou Quallenberg with Jig to bend Mesquite
Mesquite Furniture
Lou Quallenberg & Shawn Walker remove mesquite curve from jig
We are thankful for the new clients this year that have helped push this new direction, but are also aware that several of the former client's (now collectors) with their new projects have added to the momentum.  What a true blessing to be able to hone your skills and craft as you create commissions for people that truly appreciate your work! We are so very thankful to our clients and collectors, past, present and future that help Lou Quallenberg's work increase in value as they seek it out.

This year we entered two contests Martha Stewart's American Made and Intuit's Small Business Big Game. While we did not win either contest, we like to think that we gained experience by entering and competing and perhaps got a bit of exposure that we would not have had otherwise.  Creating a video for the Intuit contest reminded us that we never really did the YouTube video series that we had started a few years back. So maybe this new year will be the year?!

Check out the video that we did for The Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest:

Check out the first video that we did on YouTube and let us know if you think we should do more:

This year brought us a few surprises with the reunion, connection and reconnection of family.  It reminded us that the world works in mysterious ways and God's hand is in all of it. We are very blessed to add more family and hope to strengthen the family bonds that we already have as well.  With that said we need to add a word or two of THANKS to the Walker Family (AKA Cheryl's Family). Shawn for his work in the shop and on deliveries, Steve for his creative genius in helping Lou make his sketches reality, Carolyn for putting up with the shop shenanigans and Heather for always being on call to Barney sit or lend a hand. Matthew and Taylor for being themselves and helping here & there. We LOVE all of our families: old & new, good & bad, known & unknown, alive & deceased because we know they are ALL in some way a part of what makes us who we are.    

The Lou Quallenberg Studios Catalog was updated in early 2013 but it along with the website are due for a TOTAL makeover this new year. We are open to any and all ideas and suggestions so please feel free to let us know what you think.

We received some good press this past year with an article in Tex Appeal Magazine and a mention in the "THINGS WE LOVE" section in Western Art & Architecture.  While mesquite is a Texas native and Western art collectors are aware of mesquite and its beautiful qualities. Our goal is to attract buyers and collectors that are not so familiar with the wood.

Sometimes a familiarity with something limits the imagination of what it can be,  we see mesquite as a beautiful medium that should not be limited by its Texan and/or Western roots.

Don't get me wrong, we embrace the Texas Heritage of mesquite.  We truly appreciate the favorable reception of Lou Quallenberg's work at The Texas Furniture Makers Show.  A "Jersey" boy Winning the "Best Texas Style" Category a whopping five times says something about the maker, the wood and it's Texas roots, but we see it as something bigger than Texas. Oh wait did I really say that?! Okay as BIG as Texas!  What I am saying is the beauty of this wood should not be limited to Texas or western homes and ranches.....

"Sometimes a familiarity with something limits the imagination of what it can be, we see mesquite as a beautiful medium that should not be limited by its Texan and/or Western roots." CWQuallenberg

In this coming new year we hope to continue our work of helping, encouraging and inspiring young artists (and maybe a few older ones.) We know that we learn from and are inspired by them as much as they are by us. We DO still dream, search and plan for a future creative workspace that will include an Artist in Residence program and be a place of inspiration for years to come. We truly love to collaborate and share with artists of all kinds and offer ANY and ALL of our experience and skills gained to anyone who takes the time to ask for or seek it out. 

We wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!  
May ALL of your Dreams and Desires 
Come True in 2014!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Making Mesquite Furniture: Texas Style

We are so very honored that Lou Quallenberg once again won the Best Texas Style category at the 14th Annual Texas Furniture Makers Show. This is the fifth time that he has won the award with his unique style of mesquite furniture. We find it kind of humorous that a guy from New Jersey keeps winning the Best Texas Style Furniture category! 

I think his love for the wood (mesquite) and the work has become physically obvious and that is what people see when they look at and touch his pieces. Lou's Contemporary "Calf Leg" Credenza also received an Honorable Mention from the judges. They probably ALL frowned on the use of metal drawer slides but we still have not found a better method to achieve full extension of the drawer for our client's regular use.

Texas Furniture
"Susan" Mesquite Entry Table Wins Best Texas Style at 2013 Texas Furniture Makers Show

Texas Furniture  
Contemporary "Calf Leg" Credenza receives an Honorable Mention
This year we had resigned to the fact that the younger artists (some that we have been really encouraging) were finally finding their art and coming into their own.  We were pretty sure when we delivered Lou's pieces to the show that the piece created by 22 year old Timothy Anz, an apprentice to Frank Strazza, would take the Best in Show. It was so perfect in it's execution and the design was not typical traditional. It did win Best of Show at the 14th Annual Texas Furniture Makers Show and it deserved it! Such a beautiful piece.
Best of Show "Safari" display cabinet (L-R) Asa Christiana, Omar Angel Perez, Timothy Anz (Maker), & Jeff Miller.
Texas Furniture
Lou Quallenberg's Contemporary "Calf Leg" Credenza received an Honorable Mention
Mesquite Furniture
Best Texas Style - The "Susan" Mesquite Entry Table by Lou Quallenberg

Brandon Berdoll with the Award winning "Brazos Beauty"
We also felt the piece by Brandon Berdoll and Company, "The Brazos Beauty" would probably take the Best Texas Style Category. So we were seriously surprised when they called Lou's name for the award. "The Brazos Beauty" Pecan dining table ended up taking 3rd place overall and the Woodcraft People's Choice Award!  
Lee Westphal's piece "The Edge" Table was another contender that we thought might have a chance at Best Texas Style Furniture this year but he entered it in the Contemporary category.
Texas Furniture Makers Show Judge and Fine Wood Working Editor Asa Christiana posted this blog about the Show and we were pleasantly surprised to find that he listed Lou's "Susan" Mesquite Entry Table as one of his personal favorites. 

Read the full blog post here:

Texas Artists
Artists L-R: Jeffrey Cox, Lou Quallenberg, Jeremy Grubb
One of our favorite nights of the year is the Texas Furniture Makers Show Awards Reception, as it gives us a chance to catch up with the artists that we have not seen all year long.  We really enjoy the camaraderie and the sharing, the exchange of ideas and products, tools and finishes. It always amazes us at the amount of talent in the room when artists get together for a show. Such a great energy and creative flow. We do also get to visit a  little bit on delivery day before the show and pick up day after it ends. 

Sadly tomorrow is pick up day and we will say goodbye to the Fourteenth Annual Texas Furniture Makers Show until next year.                 

Live Edge Furniture
Delivering to and picking up from the show always a chance to visit with the other makers.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

SHOWTIME for the "Susan" Mesquite Entry Table

"Susan" Mesquite Entry Table - Mesquite Furniture by Lou Quallenberg
As we have for the majority of the past 9 years, most of October was spent scrambling to finish Lou's entry in the Texas Furniture Makers Show ®. We knew it would be tight because of its close timing to the "Western Trappings on the Llano" Exhibition & Sale - Grand Opening and a much delayed yet somewhat unexpected trip to Philadelphia in September.  So same as last year, the call to former clients went out to see if we could "show" one of his former pieces, in the event that a new piece was not completed in time.  Last years piece "Drift" was delivered dripping oil and wax. The finish not up to the Lou Quallenberg standard (even though the piece WON the Best Texas Style Category) and was quickly stripped and refinished for photos, and ultimately it's new client. 

Mr. & Mrs. Donahue answered the call this year by consenting to the use of their "Susan" Mesquite Entry Table in the Texas Furniture Makers Show ® .  Last year they had Holiday parties and were enjoying the new mesquite furniture piece in their home for the Holidays. This year Susan's wedding (yes the table's namesake) and other plans meant they would not feel the loss of the "Susan" Mesquite Hallway Table in their entry way as severely.   

Lou Quallenberg's Website Home Page - www.LouQart.com
It was an interesting and happy coincidence or synchronicity that we had already chosen to create new business cards using the "Susan" Table's curvy photos.   In an effort to match the marketing we also changed out the website Home Page image (seen here).  We felt this image shows off Lou's distinct, curvy design style and leans more towards the sculptural work,  style and direction he is moving into.  

The New Folded Card for Lou Quallenberg Studios
Our choice of doing a folded card this year has presented it's own set of challenges. Once folded and stacked together the cards have a spring loaded effect and can surprise the unsuspecting card collector by flying in unison across the room.  For this reason we have taken to displaying them open with the inside facing out and letting the person gathering a card fold it themselves. They take up less space and avoid the flying across the room trick, which I am sure most folks would prefer not to happen anyways.
Mesquite Entry Table: The "Susan" - Mesquite Furniture by Lou Quallenberg
The "Susan" Mesquite Entry table was designed to go under a painting in the Donahue home.  I have to say I had seen the pictures recently because we put them on the cards and website but I honestly had forgotten how truly breathtaking the piece is in person.  It  measures a whopping 10.5 ft long by 2 ft wide by 3 ft high. It really makes a presence and begs for you to touch it. We hope that you get a chance to go by and see it in person in Kerrville at the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center while it is at the 14th Annual Texas Furniture Makers Show®. You can also check out his Mesquite Credenza that is available for sale, some other mesquite furniture as well as some incredible furniture pieces in other woods and materials by some very talented Artists and Makers.
The "Susan" Mesquite Entry Table by Lou Quallenberg

Laminated Mesquite Curves by Lou Quallenberg

Mesquite Hallway Table- The "Susan" by Lou Quallenberg
Remember that you can always see Lou Quallenberg's Mesquite Furniture online at  www.LouQart.com and we hope you will stop by and support both of these great shows where you can see, touch and feel Lou's mesquite furniture in person.
The 14th Annual Texas Furniture Makers Show ®
October 31 - November 30, 2013
A Statewide Competition of the Finest Custom Furniture Makers in Texas!
228 Earl Garrett Street
Kerrville, Texas 78028

 Kerr Arts & Cultural Center
Gallery Hours:

10 AM-4 PM

1 PM-4 PM

Don't forget to VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE Furniture Piece for the
PEOPLES' CHOICE AWARD sponsored by Woodcraft®!!!


Western Trappings on The Llano Exhibition & Sale
Inside the Llano County Historical Museum 

The Museum is OPEN to the Public:
11 AM-5 PM
"Western Trappings on the Llano" Exhibition & Sale
MEET THE ARTISTS: "Western Trappings on the Llano"

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sharing, September & Shows

September's shadows 
lean long and hard.
The feel of Fall begins it's bow.
The colors and the show begin,
as winter starts her harsh descent. 
- CW Quallenberg

Lou Quallenberg sharing his knowledge at Art Tour Demo
September always seems to be a stressful month of trying to make up for the slower pace of a heat filled August or sizzling summer (as the case may be.) Show pieces and items are rushed as the arrival of Fall signals  "Show Time" at Lou Quallenberg Studios.  Lou tries to create a new piece each year for the Texas Furniture Makers Show in an effort to support this showcase of incredible talent. We enjoy visiting with the other artists and Furniture Makers at this and other shows that we attend. The sharing of information and the energy exchange that comes from being in a room filled with such amazing artistic talent is exhilarating! 

In 2008 we met an amazing artistic couple at the Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole. Tim Carney of Timothy's Fine Woodworking and Maureen Shaunnessey of  Brown Bird Studio.  Maureen is the one that taught me how easy it is to blog and inspired me to start the Mesquite Musings journey.  The have a great group of woodworkers in Montana  -  The Helena Woodworkers Guild
Check out their Blog: Sawdust & Shavings  It is on that blog that we discovered this great video about sharing skills and passing info along to the next generation.
I love this quote that they pulled from the Video:
"If you don’t hand it on, all that’s not given is lost. So you must — if you get good at something — show other people how to do this."
— Lida Cardozo Kindersley, letter carver
This is exactly what we believe. We are always sharing techniques, sources, information and just about anything else you can think of! Lou feels that if someone is copying his ideas it is a compliment and not a theft like some may see it as. He knows in his heart of hearts that he will always have a new idea or design in his head and nobody can take that from him.

What knowledge skill or craft are you passing along to the future? Do you share it? If not why not?

Lou Quallenberg's Upcoming Shows:

October 31st-November 30th 2013

October 18th, 2013 - January 4th, 2014

A few shows that we wish we had the time for but just could not break away for this year :

          October 11 - 13, 2013                       September 5-7, 2013              September 18-22, 2013
          Fredericksburg, Texas                    Jackson Hole, Wyoming                Cody, Wyoming

While Lou Quallenberg Studios did not make the final round in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards we are currently in the second round of voting in the Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest. We appreciate your support! You can use this link below to vote for us and who knows maybe Lou will win a Commercial during the Super Bowl!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Antlers in August: Our Mesquite Furniture with Antler Accents

PLEASE NOTE: No deer were harmed in the making of our Mesquite Furniture! ALL antlers used in our Mesquite Furniture are collected White-tailed Deer sheds. These antlers are NATURALLY shed in the spring and a new set is regrown each year on the typical White-tailed buck. 

Antler Mesquite Dining Table with Floating Top
 We thought the Antlers might be an appropriate subject as Llano "The Deer Capital of Texas" gears up for it's annual influx of Deer Hunters.   This FALL is once again filling up fast for Lou Quallenberg Studios.  We are very proud to announce that Lou's work has been juried into the Llano Historical Museum's "Western Trappings on the Llano" a 77 day Exhibition & Sale held inside the museum. The Exhibition will showcase 71 Artists from 3 Countries and 15 States.  We have listed the artists with active links to their websites on our web site HERE: Western Trappings on The Llano. It Grand Opens alongside the 9th Annual Llano River Chuck Wagon Cook Off and the 24th Annual Heritage Festival and features a Live Public Auction of Artwork donated by the participating Artists to benefit the Llano County Historical Museum. The show also spotlights 12 Bronze sculptures by the Internationally known Western Artist Jay Contway.  
"Western Trappings on The Llano" runs from October 18th through January 4th 2014 and is creating quite a stir in town. Don't miss it.
We also hope to Jury into the Texas Furniture Makers Show  and get a new piece finished in time for the October 31st - November 30th Show.  The Application was sent out today and they release the "Participating Artists" on Sept 6th. So cross your Fingers!

Lou Quallenberg's work is currently nominated for Martha Stewart's American Made Awards. Voting goes until Sept 13th so please register and Vote! BTW you can vote up to 6 times daily until the 13th. Vote Here: http://www.marthastewart.com/americanmade/nominee/82887   THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Lou has some exciting new commissions in house that he is working on. The challenges stretch his talent and and feed his artistic soul. We are feeling BLESSED and THANKFUL for our clients both new and old that continue to support his Mesquite Art Furniture Journey.

Mesquite Dining Table with Antler Accents
Base: Mesquite Antler Dining Tab
Inside: Mesquite Antler Dining Table Leg

Outside: Antler Mesquite Dining Table Leg

Corner: Antler Mesquite Dining Table

Antler Mesquite Dining Table Corner with Slab Top

Antler Mesquite Dining Table with Sculpted Live Edge 

Antler Mesquite Dining Table:  Side View

Antler Mesquite Dining Table: Underneath

Mesquite Antler Dining Table

Mesquite Media Chest with Antler Drawer Pulls

Front: Mesquite Media Chest with Antler Pulls
Drawers: Mesquite Media Chest with Antler Pulls
Top: Mesquite Media Chest with Antler Pulls

Mesquite Side Table with Antler Drawer Pulls

Front: Mesquite Side Table with Antler Drawer Pulls

Side: Mesquite Side Table with Antler Drawer Pulls
Top: Mesquite Side Table with Antler Drawer Pulls

Mesquite Partners Desk with Antler Accents & Drawer Pulls

Underside Mesquite Partners Desk with Antler Accents & Drawer Pulls

Mesquite Partners Desk with Antler Accents & Drawer Pulls

Mesquite Partners Desk with Antler Accents & Drawer Pulls
Mesquite Partners Desk with Antler Accents & Drawer Pulls
Mesquite Partners Desk with Antler Accents & Drawer Pulls

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mesquite End Tables: Two of a Kind

Mesquite End Tables Two of a Kind
Mesquite Slab Top

Mesquite End Tables in Rough State

We delivered a pair of Mesquite End Tables this month and since I will post this blog on or around our 18th Wedding Anniversary I thought it might be interesting to share their story alongside a bit of ours. 

The slab tops of this pair of  mesquite end tables are a book matched set. Meaning that the two slabs came from the same tree and their placement inside of the tree was right next to each other. I think it is only fitting that they were side by side growing in the tree and in their new life as tables they will be together on either side of a sofa balancing each other with their opposite facing tops. 

End Table Mock up
End Table Mock up

Mesquite End Table

Mesquite End Table
Mesquite End Table Bases with First Coat of Oil

Picture Perfect Pair

We are often called two of a kind, "Lou&Cheryl" is almost a single name in some of our friend's and family's minds. I think that when you view a marriage from the outside looking in, it is easy to romanticize it or make it out to be something easier or better than what it actually is. Do not get me wrong I DO know that what we have is VERY special! But when you are on the outside looking in, you do not see the times of trouble, from times of great illness (see video below), to our seemingly never ending decision of where to live.

We have weathered many trying times and devastating storms, just as we have at times, ridden the waves of good fortune - sometimes celebrating on the back of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. We have attempted to master the lesson: that whether good or bad "this to shall pass."  We have encouraged each other to grow and discover the passions of our hearts and minds. We have found that fortunately that growth has made us stronger, rather than more separate and grown apart - as it does in some relationships.

Lou & Cheryl Quallenberg
Lou & Cheryl Quallenberg
Lou's work is his passion and at times that can be annoying, especially when I have to drag him from the shop covered in sweat and sawdust just to do something with me. It all seems worth it though to be able to stand in the light that he shines as he brings each new piece to life, often from pieces of wood that were destined for the firepit. I get to witness firsthand the growth of his skills as the art in his heart comes pouring out of him, whether he is working on a pair of Mesquite End Tables or his beautiful Dancing Trees.
He has encouraged me to find myself and my passion whether it is flowers, writing, art, children or the search for my next and latest whim. He has never once said "Oh no here we go again!" He supports my thirst for knowledge and my desire to somehow help our small community with volunteering of my limited healthy hours.  He is over protective to say the least, but also the best caregiver I could ever ask for. 

We are two of a kind in my eyes and I am so thankful to have him as my better half!