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The Soul of Rustic Design

Almost anything can be rustic: a home, furniture, clothing and even shoes. Rustic is country, cottage, wild gardens, earth, natural fabrics, leather, wood and poles. It is not gaudy, plastic, chrome, mass-made or stainless steel.

Rustic doesn’t mean ramshackle or badly made. The sometimes simplistic designs are partly deliberate and partly involuntary – the designer’s make-up prevents them from creating differently.

If you are a rustic person, you will understand the intangible aspects of a rustically designed item. There are thousands of alleged “rustic” products available: products that use the title and promise the design but fall short on delivery. The look, feel, smell and aesthetics don’t match the title. There is no sense of the piece having a part of its maker imbued in it – a quality that cannot be polished, scrubbed or sandpapered out of it.

Rustic things are made by rustic people, not by machines. If you know about rustic people, you’ll have no difficulty in identifying their designs. They are calm people with peace in their eyes even in crowded places. They smell of the woods, of leather and cotton and wet petals. Children are naturally drawn to them. If you are always busy, always frenetic, you will miss them. You have to be still a while and quietly observant. Rustic is muted.

Such people prefer rainy days, walking in the forest and cooking with fresh herbs. They see the hidden magic in a garden that ordinary people can’t.

Rustic pieces stand out. Even in a crowded mall there is something peaceful about them. It may be a bed, a flower barrel or a skirt but there will be an indelible part the maker in it – that is part of its beauty.

There are no reasons for buying rustic except for kindred spirits, for understanding, for feeling. Heirlooms are rustic; they pass down well. If you want the experience, you will have to seek it out. Rescuing a rustic piece from a mall has its rewards but the true experience is watching the creation.

You may visit websites with the names bentwood-, briar-, pioneer- and Mayflower- .com, but unless you spend time with the smell of the wood shavings on the barn floor, the sound of clay being sucked from the earth, and the gentle faces, you won’t find rustic and your soul will be lonely.

The experience has a flow in both directions and you will get infinitely more than you give.

Copyright © Jared Winston, 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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