Honoring the Steel City, the Schoolhouse Fall Collection features art and homewares from several local Pittsburgh makers. For this blog series, we reached out to some of these makers to ask them about what drives them to create these beautiful artifacts. This week, we spoke with the team behind Pittsburgh woodworking studio Bones and All.
In addition to creating the handsome Wooden Spreading Knives that are included in our Fall Collection, the team at Bones and All also provides custom furniture. We asked them to fill us in on their creative processes, their feelings on being part of the Pittsburgh maker community, and their favorite Pennsylvania hardwoods.
Tell us about Bones & All! Who are you and what do you specialize in?
"Bones and All is a full-service design and woodworking studio started by Zak Kruszynski and Kelsey Henson, specializing in custom furniture for commercial and private clients. With a holistic, considerate approach and emphasis on functional and aesthetic details, we’re able to create the perfect piece for our clients, whether it’s a suite of tables and stools for a restaurant, or a dining table for a home."
How did your company get started?
"We started Bones and All in 2012, out of the second bedroom of our apartment as a creative outlet and mental break from our desk jobs. Six years, five shop moves, and one wedding later, we’re still going strong!"
What draws you to woodworking? Have you always had an interest?
"Neither of us had a background in woodworking before we started, but we’re both driven to create. We came to woodworking as a way to make beautiful, functional objects from a versatile medium. Much of our design philosophy focuses on quality materials of uncommon character. Working in wood, we allow the variation in color and grain to dictate the details of a piece."
As part of our Pittsburgh Collection, we’re featuring two of your beautiful Wooden Spreading Knives. How did these pieces come about and how do you see them being used?
"Our spreading knives started as a way for us to utilize small pieces of wood that are left over from other projects. Waste reduction is important to us, so we wanted to design a product that would allow us to use up some of these cut offs. We use them for spreading soft cheeses, butters, and jams."
Pennsylvania has stunning deciduous forests. What are some of your favorite local woods to work with?
"It’s so hard to choose! Silver maple has great character, and can generate some really wild patterns for our end grain cutting boards. Although you usually think of maple as being really light and clean looking, certain grades have beautiful streaks of color running through them. Hickory is one of our favorites too for its contrast between the heartwood and sapwood. It’s one of the hardest domestic woods, but it’s also really flexible, which makes it great to work with."
What’s the difference between handcrafted furniture and something you could buy from a department store?
"One of the big differences we see is that our furniture is custom. The pieces we make are designed with a specific space and user in mind, to fit both physically and aesthetically, and crafted with care and attention to detail. Even if we’re making a design that we’ve made before, we’re able to tailor it the needs of our clients whether that means making a table the perfect size for a dining room, or ensuring that it can fit up a narrow stairway (Pittsburgh has lots of those!)."
What’s it like to be a maker in Pittsburgh? Is there a strong community vibe or is it defined more by independent artisans?
"Pittsburgh is a great place for makers! There’s definitely a strong spirit of community, and people tend to be supportive, rather than competitive. We’ve made a ton of great friends and have been able to collaborate on some awesome projects with people across creative disciplines."