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While You Are Here

Pilsen, Simply Wood Rings, While Visiting, While in Pilsen, Wood Rings

Did you know that you can visit our shop at any time and see all our rings in person? You can! We love to have visitors see where all the magic happens. There are so many things to do in our neighborhood that we made a list of all of them. We have a brand new page that shows all of our favorite places in the Pilsen neighborhood that you can check out while you are here. We have a comprehensive list of places to shop, drink, eat, hang out, or see art.


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Introducing Birthwood by Simply Wood Rings

Birthwood by Simply Wood Rings

Simply Wood Rings Celebrates with Birthwood

We here at Simply Wood Rings are excited to announce the launch of a new line called Birthwood!  The name itself is pretty enticing, so you are probably asking yourself, what exactly is a Birthwood?  Birthwood is more of an idea than one type of wood. It incorporates numerous kinds of wood and uses the wood’ s symbolization to represent all types of life in its message.
The tree has been a symbol for humans throughout our time on Earth, spanning histories, geographies, religions, and mythologies.  It is a symbol of the interconnections of all life, reaching out to the sky with its branches and down into the Earth with its roots.  Trees breath life into the world we live in, and help give birth to new life every day.  Staying true to these ancient ideas we have created Birthwood as a representation of each client according to which month and tree they were born under.  These ideas pull heavily from Celtic and Native American beliefs and folklore and focus on the way that we inevitably carry a connection with us to all other living things on earth.
My birthday is actually in a few days, and I learned that my Birthwood for October is maple.  The maple tree symbolizes offering, generosity, balance, promise and practicality.  I can’t say that I wouldn’t want a Birthwood piece of jewelry for my birthday this month (hint hint to anyone who knows me personally).  This new line is perfect for gifting to a special person in your life as a birthday present or a present to represent a new start in someone’s life. Below is a list of every month and their specific type of wood, take a look to see what your personal wood type is!

 

January- Birch
The birch tree is a symbol of rebirth and renewal.
February – Hackberry
The hackberry tree symbolizes wisdom, strength of will, and intuition.
March- Ash
The ash tree symbolizes peace of mind, sensitivity, and awareness.
April- Walnut
Walnut is a symbol of universal wisdom and knowledge.
May- Elm
The elm tree is a symbol of strength, family tradition, and loyalty.
June- Oak
Oak symbolizes truth, knowledge, strength of character, and motivation.
July- Cherry
The cherry tree symbolizes strong expression and compassion.
August- Applewood
The apple tree which produces fruit from midsummer to early autumn is a symbol of strength, gentleness, abundance, and giving.
September- Willow
The willow tree symbolizes imagination, intuition, and vision.
October- Maple Tree
Maple symbolizes the tree of offering, generosity, balance, promise, and practicality.
November- Cedar
The cedar tree is symbolic of healing and cleansing.
December- Pine
The pine tree symbolizes creativity, peace, and harmony.

Stay tuned for more information regarding our new line in the upcoming weeks!

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Alternative Wedding Ring Movement

I never really thought that our wood wedding rings could start a movement. When Simply Wood Rings was just an idea I believed that the world could use an alternative to traditional wedding rings. I believed that to give the world a more natural, eco-friendly wedding ring that was in alignment with what it means to be human could be a good thing. There are now hundreds of men and women from all walks of life making wooden wedding rings. Early on I decide that when more and more makers made their way to this movement it could mostly be good.  Giving the world a truly green alternative wedding was just what we did.  We ask our customer to bring the stories their hearts and dreams to us and we can help them through the process of making a wood wedding ring that comes from a very authentic place that no amount of gold or diamonds could replicate.

Alternative diamond Wedding Ring Movement
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10 Years of Simply Wood Rings – A look back.

This year Simply Wood Rings has been around for 10 years. It's still hard to believe that sentence, but its really something strange and wonderful to see happen. When I started down this creative path I was in my mid 30's. The journey started in my mid 30's with a lot of thought and mindful preparation, not so much on my part but on my wifes part. I sometime feel I'm just here for the ride. It has been a lot of hard work that feels great because you're driven by passion. I wouldn't have it any other way.

In 10 years of Simply Wood Rings I've seen more of the world then in the 20 or so years before. I've connected with some of the most beautiful people in the world. I've been there for people at their lowest point in life and at their happiest and that has had a profound impact on my life. I have always believed that our wooden rings are a celebration of life and that hasn't change. We have been there with a young couple when they lost their newborn not in morning but celebrating that life. We have thousands of stories that our customers have shared with us thru the years. Many of them joyous and sad, but all of them celebrating life.

We've made wooden rings for movies stars, CEO's and professional athletes. We were lampooned by Jay Leno in 2008 (see clip here) about our eco-friendly approach to making our wood wedding rings. In 2013 my work was accepted in the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. For all that has happen I'm continually reminded that Simply Wood Rings is about the simple in life, the wonderfully beautiful simple of what life has to offer.

Thank you for sharing these times with us we are honoured to be a small part of the process.

baseball bat cufflinks
lovers on a bench
kissing on a rock
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John Dart + SWR = Photomagic

John Dart is an incredibly sweet man with a keen awareness for the life and noise around him, which is a great thing to have as a wedding photographer. He took photos of our work for the Chicago NotWedding last August, and here are the fruits of his labor!

All images below are copyright John Dart, and he should be given credit when you post them all over tarnation in a fit of adoration!

john dart chicago

John Dart SWR Photomagic

John Dart SWR Photomagic

John Dart SWR Photomagic

John Dart SWR Photomagic

John Dart SWR Photomagic

John Dart SWR Photomagic

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Booth Photographics & SWR at Chicago’s NotWedding

Stephanie and Stephen of Booth Photographics are basically the hero and heroine of the best, smartest kind of rom-com, only in the happily-ever-after phase. The husband-and-wife team make some mighty fine pictures, and we’re lucky that they pointed their lenses and careful eyes at our wares at the Chicago NotWedding in August. All images below are property Booth Photographics, so make sure to credit them when you spread the love!

Booth Photographics

Booth Photographics

Booth Photographics

Booth Photographics

Booth Photographics

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Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings!

We were so happy to work with the talented and charming photographers at the NotWedding. Here’s the first of three posts showcasing their work.

First up, the energetic and delightful Megan Saul, who photographed our NotWedding ring set, plus the Sky Blue Harmony set, and a hackberry, red jasper and black pearl set inspired by our NotWedding work.

All images below are copyright Megan Saul. If you want to repost them (and you totally should!), make sure to give her the credit.

Else-wise credit also goes to Dame Couture, who made the beautiful black-and-white gown, and Menguin, who made sure that the groom and his men folk looked sharp in tuxedos. For more information about all of the great Chicago NotWedding Vendors, head here!

megan saul chicago

Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings

Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings

Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings

Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings

Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings

Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings

Megan Saul Photographs Simply Wood Rings

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The Indie Wed/Wed Altered Pop Up Event

The Indie Wed Altered Pop Up Event

This Saturday, we’re heading to the Indie Wed Pop Up, at super cool space in Humboldt Park – The Living Room – to meet folks and have impromptu design appointments.

Want to get in on the wonderland? Head here to buy a ticket, or email amanda (at) gustavreyes (dot) com to request a free ticket! We’ve got six to give away, so hop on it! Please include your full name and the number of tickets you need, and make sure to email by the end of Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

See you there!

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Breaking News! We are Moving to Pilsen

we are monving
This week we’re packing up the studio with care, and heading to the northwestern side of Pilsen. We’ll be sad to say goodbye to everyone at MANA, but we’re so excited to meet our new community at the Midland Building.

Starting today, we’ll be able to receive mail at our new location, but will be accepting mail at our current location through early October.

Please send refinishes and materials to 1500 S. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608.

We’ll post pictures as soon as it’s camera-ready!

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The 1st Chicago Not Wedding Engagement Ring!

We’re so excited to be a part of the 1st Chicago NotWedding, “a bridal show in the form of a big fake wedding” for couples planning to say “I Do!” The fab to-do is next Thursday, but the amazing Megan Saul did a Save The Date shoot with Ashley and Brian, the NotWedding already-married couple. (All the photos below are Megan’s, save the ring and studio shots.)The Bread and Butterfly made Ashley’s beautiful floral headpiece, and Chykalophia the sweet printed cards below.

And us? We made Ashley’s engagement ring!

Chicago Not Wedding Engagement Ring photography session

Chicago Not Wedding Engagement Ring photo megan saul photography

Here it is up close! The concept for the wedding is “black tie,” and so we wanted to design a ring that united a crisp, modern, glamorous look with our warm natural aesthetic.

Not Wedding Engagement Ring

For the NotWedding engagement ring, we used salvaged juniper, crushed lava rock, white holly and gold leaf.

american holly in the studio

crushed lava in the studio

gold leaf in the studio

Chicago Not Wedding Engagement Ring

Chicago Not Wedding Engagement Ring

We can’t wait for the event, and to show you the wedding bands to match. For more information, check out the NotWedding site.

Like this ring? Want something like it? Head over to the Custom Rings page!

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Shop Visit Photoblog: Matt & Tatiana

Matt and Tatiana thought they’d get the rings all wrapped up and head out but when they tried them on, they didn’t want to take them off! We asked them to pose for a few candids, then sent them off in the direction of a favorite neighborhood restaurant. When clients are around, the joy just does not stop!

Shop Visit Photoblog: Matt & Tatiana

rings Matt & Tatiana
Their rings are rosewood and mother of pearl. Like the looks of them? Check out the shop.

This is what happened when we asked them to kiss for the camera:
Matt & Tatiana

Matt & Tatiana rings

Matt & Tatiana rings

Ready to make your own wood wedding rings? Head to the Custom Order page!

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Spotlight: Client-and-Ring Specialist Allison is a Not-So-Secret Artiste!

Happy Monday!

When you receive your Simply Wood Ring, you’ll receive a thank you note from us: we believe it’s important to display our gratitude on a daily basis, many times over. We’re are lucky — SO LUCKY — to be working with wonderful people and beautiful materials day in and day out.

Allison — who gets to talk to clients and collaborate on rings every day — sometimes adds her own little flair to the notes…and what a flair it is!

Allison wishes a client happy birthday:
Allison wishes a client happy birthday card

Allison lets another member of the team know she says “hello!”:
 Allison lets another member of the team know she says hello

Allison draws a pensive portrait of Gustav, accompanied by a similarly pensive quote:
gustav portrate by allison

Allison keeps this moustachioed gentleman-ring* nearby for jazzy midday inspiration:
Moustache Ring By Allison

Allison draws from memory an older man whom she saw at GreenFest Chicago 2013:

Old Man By Allison
Simply Wood Rings is a wonderful place to be, and Allison’s cartoons are totally awesome reminder!

Wishing you teammates as great and supportive as ours…

*We would totally wear this ring!

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Urbs in Horto: City of Chicago Flag Ring

“Urbs In Hoto” is the Chicago city motto. It means “City in a Garden,” and anyone who’s spent any time in our hometown knows why. The land is full of parks and trees and nature in every available corner.

This afternoon, at the direction of a client, we took the motto literally, and made the city flag out of fauna. It’s freshly made by our expert artisans (with a special shout-out to Joe, for the #flawless inlay), out of oak with red and blue fluorite.

City of Chicago Flag Ring by Simply Wood Rings: oak with red and blue fluorite.

City of Chicago Flag Ring by Simply Wood Rings: oak with red and blue fluorite.

We’re all crushing on it, and Gustav already has a plan to make a version of it with lighter, locally foraged maple.

In case you (like some of us transplants) didn’t know, the four stars of the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn (first built on the banks of the river in what’s now the Loop); the Great Chicago Fire (certainly a transformative moment); and the World’s Columbian Express, and the Century of Progress Exposition rounding up the count.

Interested in your own Chicago or [TO WHATEVER YOU PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE] ring? Sidle on up to our pretty new site, and contact us with ideas, dreams, challenges, and questions!

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So Fresh, So Clean: The New Site Is Up!

Dear Friends,

It’s almost our 10th anniversary. Technically, traditionally, that’s tin, but we prefer to think of it as “double-wood”! As a gift to ourselves, and a gift to you, we’ve put together a sweet new site that tells your stories and displays everything that makes us special as a company. (Hint: a large part of that is you all.)

First, here’s what the site looked like in 2006. A bit nineties, to our eye, for sure. It’s nice, though, to see we had that simple elegance from the start. [Insert winking emoticon here!]

The New Site Is Up!

And, [drum roll as loud as thunder],  here’s our brand new look!

The New Site Is Up!

On the site, (which can still be found at simplywoodrings.com), you’ll be able to get to the meat of the matter (wood rings! how wonderful they are! how to take care of them! the team!) while enjoying beautiful pictures of our wares, all under the sheltering sky (banner) the color of seawater in a cave.

We hope you’ll take time to explore the new site. Contact us with comments and suggestions. In the coming week, we’ll be expanding the gallery selection to show off even more beauty that’s coming out of the shop.

Share, share alike, shout from mountaintops, re-post, blog and skywrite just as much as your heart desires.

Stay tuned for exciting evolutions and fun adventures!

Yours,
The SWR Team

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Summer Days Full of Light

“This is the world’s reenactment of today, and of this moment, and of continuing on-with its satellite imaging of scattering birds obscuring our faces—and this is the world’s reenactment of its percentages: of the constant shifting of the satellites and the constant scattering of the birds and the likelihood that we will be seen; and this is the reenactment of someone choosing your face” from “Equation for Cresting” by Christopher Bolin, via Verse Daily

These summer weeks our studio fills with light and noise.

These summer weeks out studio fills with light and joy.

Even the peregrine falcons have been hooting and squeaking and swooping, like, they know. (Or perhaps, with Field Museum visitors, and three little newly-hatched babes, they’ve got their own sweet hubbub!)

So many wonderful people are getting married at the end of June! And we’re making wood rings for everyone, or, it certainly seems that way.

Lisa and Denise came in to pick up their rings earlier this week, for a private commitment ceremony. They were freshly back from Kenya, and “accidentally” wearing coordinated shirts featuring elephants from their travels.

It was so wonderful to spend time with these two as they tried on their rings–rosewood, moissanite, and mother of pearl–and made sure just they were just right.

Allison consults with Lisa and Denise about the right fit.<

Allison consults with Lisa and Denise about the right fit.

Lisa and Denise try the rings on for size for the first time!

Lisa and Denise try the rings on for size for the first time!

Happy clients at Simply Wood Rings.

Denise takes a closer look.

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

We couldn’t be happier for Lisa and Denise, and wish them a lifetime together of joy and adventure.

If you need us, we’ll be sanding and wrapping, packing and shipping, sighing and stretching, and ready for more!

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Bioswale? More Like BioSWELL.

Every morning, on our way into the studio, we walk by a beautiful streetside tumble of native plants. Some are bristly, others green, with blossoms punctuating the landscape.

Along Cermak, on each block, there is a post, with an informative sign, and a small vertical wind mill, and a solar panel.

Our neighborhood is fairly industrial, so the green, as it grows throughout this hot and wet season, makes us smile.

But where did it come from?
In 2012, Chicago’s Sustainability Office set out to make Cermak — a main east-west artery that hosts everything from family restaurants and schools, to artists studios, and factories, even a food truck parking lot — the “Greenest Street in Chicago.” Awesome eco-sustainable-nature/people-loving things they did to make this happen include:

  • recycled and reused construction materials
  • energy-saving reflective paving
  • concrete that includes titanium dioxide to break down pollutants on the surface and up to 8 feet in the air (smog eaters!)
  • environment-responsive lights, powered by solar and wind collection
  • diversion of 80% of rainwater to sustainable landscaping (bioswales*)
  • use of native and/or drought-resistant plants
  • ADA-welcoming streetscapes
  • more bike racks
  • educational signage (like the one in the video above!)

*Bioswales involve grading the land and choosing sustainable plants in order to direct, filter, and make better use of rainwater.

cermak road

Up-close of a bioswale, via Dwell

One day while waiting for the bus, we watched a man pick up litter and throw it away. We followed suit. It definitely takes a community to support a sustainability plan; infrastructure can only go so far. Doing good together feels great. 

We love that our environment matches up with our own SWR mission to make life better for people and the planet at the same time!

FOR MORE INFO: You can access a pdf of the original plan here, and a great Dwell interview with “Complete Streets” program director Janet Attarian here.

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A Thank You That Grows

The other day, a sweet customer named Oliver sent our sales superstar Allison a grow-a-garden thank you note!

A Thank You That Grows

This is what it looked like last week. Then, over the weekend, the little sprouts got sad without their daily water. Gustav said that without decay we cannot have growth, but Allison added a little water and nudged them toward the sun’s rays with hope in her heart.

Now the sprouts seem to be bouncing back! The garden is a “matchgarden” by Another Studio, which has loads of beautifully designed and affordable gifts.

It makes us think of one of our favorite environmentally-minded landscape techniques: front lawns with sustainable, native plants, or vegetable gardens instead of grass. Our own building’s front yard has some super-cool bioswales, but that’s a horse of a different color, or a blog of a different color, or for a different day, or…

It truly is the season of new growth!

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Friends at Simply Wood Rings

It’s always nice to put a face to the name! This was I photo I received from two if the nicest people I’ve ever gotten to work with!

Friends at Simply Wood Rings

If you have some photo’s you’d like to share with us, shoot me an email!
craftsman@simplywoodrings.com

And here’s a little photo of me!

allison at horigan

Or, if you’re in the area, stop on in and say hello! We’re located in the fun filled area of Pilsen, in Chicago.

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What wood ring will you create?

With all of the options we have for our rings, it’s hard to try and decide which ring will be the best for you. Firstly, you need to decide which wood is the right wood.

ring hand

We have lots of different kinds of wood, and at times out inventory my vary. Local options are always pretty abundant though!

Lovely walnut

Lovely walnut! We love walnut, whether it’s light or walnut dark walnut. Walnut always seems to have a really rich color, and a good grain.

Or there's Cherry david

Or there’s Cherry, this warm and light colored wood goes great with an inlay.

juniper and olive

If you like something a bit more dark and red, try Juniper heart wood!

old rings

Or maybe you would choose oak. With such history and symbolism, who couldn’t love the meaning and beauty behind oak.

The local woods we have here are great. Some people, however, seem to resonate more with a foreign or exotic wood. When we do get our wood, especially our exotic wood, we do our best to make sure the wood is recycled, or from a reputable source. And here are some of our favorites!

Tennika Smith

This bright beautiful red wood is really one of a kind! The color alone speaks for it’s self.

bright beautiful red wood

bright beautiful red wood

Light bogwood, dark bogwood, maybe a little of both? This ancient oak from Ireland is a wonderful wood that will make a beautiful and meaning full ring full of history!

bogwood

How about something with more of a natural contrast? Zebra wood should do the trick! Every ring is different, and every ring is beautiful.

kauri meteorite dino

Oak may have a lot of history, but not as much as this Ancient Kauri wood. This wood is 50,000 years old! The grain is like no other, the wood even has a bit of a shimmer to it.

rosewood amethyst

Rosewood, is probably our most popular wood by far. All of our rosewood comes from old and recycled xylophone keys. If you’re a music lover, and like a darker richer wood, you should consider getting a rosewood ring.

rosewood ring

Finally, there are the random, donated scrap wood pieces. Some we can identify, some we can’t. So if you are looking for something really unique, that you didn’t see here, why don’t you give us a call! 312-590-6070

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These are a few of my favorite RINGS!

Wedding season is right around the corner, and a lot of people out there are getting to work designing their wedding bands. But with all of those options out there, what is the right set for you? Do you stick to something traditional? Simply? Do both rings have to match? To help you think of a few idea’s we thought we would share with you some of our favorite wedding bands.

Raphael

First there are the matching sets.  A classic and beautiful idea, if the two of you can decide on something you both will want to wear!

david w

xiomara nicky

heather

walnut silver

Some people like to take the more free and fun route. They prefer to create rings that says something about them selves, but with a unifying idea or material between the two rings.

micah and mary

tim henze

custom inlay ring

Osage Breaking traditions

But no matter what you decide to do, we know you will create some rings you love!

kauri meteorite dino ring

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Norm Sartorius and Recycled Wood

Last week we had a really fun customer come by our studio in Chicago. We were walking around the shop, and looking at all the different woods we have, and we started looking at this box of just little scrap pieces of wood. Each piece we pulled out of the box was more exciting than the last. We eventually found the right piece of wood for him, you’ll see his ring below. But we wanted to share these cool pieces of wood with you!

crazy wood

We are so thrilled anytime anyone donates wood to our shop. It means so much to us to have so many unique and beautiful types of wood. One of the many people who has given us scrap pieces of wood is the great artist, Norm Sartories! He creates, “non-functional wooden spoons” and instead of wasting the pieces he has left over, he like to send them to us and others like us.

spoon wood

spoon wood

Gustav met with Sartorius at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Craft show a few years back and they hit it off. He sends us a few pieces every so often, and we are honored to use the pieces that Sartorius has provided us with. We hope that you see a few pieces you might like to use in your recycled Norm Sartorius wood ring. We are happy to share them with all of you out there!

spoon wood

If you want to read more about Sartorius, we would love for you to visit his website with the following link: http://www.normsartorius.com/index.html

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

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Echo Archery

Echo Archery

We are happy to announce the arrival of some new and beautiful wood! A big thank you to Echo Archery and Carson Brown for supplying some awesome pieces of bow stave scraps. Here at Simply Wood Rings, we try very hard to re-purpose wood that would otherwise be thrown away. Many people wonder, how are wood rings eco-friendly? Wouldn’t you have to cut down the trees to make the rings? It is thanks to people like Carson Brown at Echo Archery that we do not have to. It’s important for us to know where our wood comes from, and today we are proud to say we have lots of new wood from Echo Archery in Salem, Oregon.

Echo Archery

Here’s a bit about the company and how they’re working with us to create some great rings!

“Echo Archery is a small archery business located in Salem Oregon. Owner, Carson Brown, makes custom wood bows and arrows from wood that he harvests himself from local private and state lands. As a part of Echo Archery’s mission to conduct business in a socially and environmentally responsible way, we are excited to provide Simply Wood Rings with a variety of wood pieces that would otherwise be considered waste. The woods that Echo Archery provides include Pacific Yew, Osage Orange, Vine Maple, Oregon Ash, Douglas-Fir, Pacific Rhododendron, Western Juniper, and Western Serviceberry.”

Echo Archery

We are so grateful to have this wood! We hope to see many beautiful rings come from these pieces of bow staves. Thank you again to Carson Brown and Echo Archery for sending these pieces of wood our way. Please check out his site. If you like our rings, you’re sure to love his work as well.

http://echoarchery.com/

Echo Archery

Vine Maple and Pacific Rhododendron

Vine Maple and Pacific Rhododendron
Vine Maple is know for it’s durability and strength.
Luckiamutte River drainage, Western Oregon Coast Mountains.

Vine Maple and Pacific Yew

Vine Maple and Pacific Yew

douglas Fir from the Cascade Mountains

Douglas Fir from the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, Mckenzie River Drainage Old-growth Douglas-fir is one of the most versatile woods in the forest.

Anything from Lumber to toilet paper!

Western Juniper

Western Juniper, Central Oregon Deschutes River Drainage Beautiful and light, full of natural oils!

Sitka Spruce

Sitka Spruce

echo archern

North Santiam River Drainage

Pacific Yew, Cascade Mountains of Oregon, North Santiam River Drainage
“The finest wood for making bows. It is a light, strong and extremely elastic wood” Carson Brown, Echo Archery




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FREE Refinishing For Life!

Do all things with love.
-Og Mandino

We love the ephemeral character of wood and how it reminds us to be conscious of the natural world. As a consequence of the nature of the material, its important to be conscious of your wooden ring as well. We like that! Here at Simply Wood Rings we feel that caring for your ring provides a chance to consider what the ring symbolizes in your life.

Life can get crazy, so we’ve made it fairly easy to care for your ring by offering free refinishing until death do you part! The wear and tear of your ring will remove some of the water safe finish. We suggest that as soon as you see wear, you send us your rings. We will lovingly re-finish and polish them back to new! It’s as simple as that!

By caring for your ring you are nurturing the love that the ring was created to symbolize.

double recycled ring set

The wood inlay of these rings is actually their old rings!

NB – For a free refinish, we ask that the customer covers the cost of shipping.

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OYSTERS : Making Lemonade out of Lemons

OYSTERS : Making Lemonade out of Lemons

We’ve all been guilty of taking the nature around us for granted. I decided to do a quick search on how pearls are made! The biology of a pearl is the coolest and most amazing thing ever!

I found this information on “howstuffworks.com” “The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritate­s the mantle. It’s kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The man­tle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl.”

Whenever you feel like you’ve just been delivered a giant shipment of sour lemons, take a lesson from the oysters and make something wonderful! Like lemonade! Or pearls! Or art!

From: http://science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/marine-life/question630.htm

Check out the rings we’ve made that include pearls!

Rosewood with Pearl
Rosewood with Pearl

Oak with Pearl and Mother of Pearl Inlays
Oak with Pearl and Mother of Pearl Inlays

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Top Ten Reasons Why Simply Wood Rings is Simply the Best

moonstone and wood wedding ring

1. We are committed to using recycled and salvaged woods to avoid forestation!

We collect wood from all types of sources. Either the wood is destined for landfills or has been processed by an equally conscientious company! We’ve gotten old xylophone keys, marimbas and fret boards, scraps from other wood workers and cabinetry makers and even wood from an awesome company, Horigan Lumber, who saves trees from being turned into mulch and makes them usable lumber!

2. We are a small company that prides itself on craftsmanship and honest business practices.

Our rings are made to order especially for you! It takes around 6-8 weeks to create a ring and we put the most love and care into crafting your special object. 

3. We make incredibly beautiful and strong wooden rings!

The founder of SWR, Gustav, developed a technique for creating the rings that mimics the traditional wood working technique of lamination. Thin strips of wood are wrapped into a ring form so each ring has an average of 12 layers of wood with grain that runs along the ring rather than across it. Needless to say, breakage has only occurred by a dog chomping on the ring or a car running it over!

4. We offer FREE refinishing! (+ the cost of shipping).

We whip your ring back to shape if it begins to show ware. We only ask that you pay for shipping. For more information visit our refinishing page! 

5. We work with you to create designs that reflect your unique personality! 

We incorporate heirloom rings and stones, customer provided woods, all types of stones, flowers, meteorite, dino bone and even a dreadlock! 

6. You can visit our shop and pick out your own wood! 

Our shop is located in Chicago in a large warehouse in the Pilsen neighborhood. Stop by and see the rings in person and see where all the magic happens! 

7. Wood has an incredible energy!

A tree is like a time capsule, it records it’s own life events within each layer. When you wear a wood ring, its almost as if it tells its life story.

8. Stand out of the crowd with a non-traditional alternative!

Have a metal allergy or like to avoid convention? A wooden ring rejects all the conventional constructs of the wedding industry. Be a salmon! Swim against the current!

9. They’re inexpensive!

Compared to the status quo of spending up to three times your monthly income on an engagement ring, spend less and go on an awesome honeymoon! Or build a house! Or start a family! Your wallet (and honey) will thank you!

10. We guarantee you WILL be best friends with Allison our customer liaison!

There’s no doubt about it Allison is top notch! She’ll go out of her way to take care of you! (One customer even exclaimed “I love you Allison! But don’t tell my fiancé!”).

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An apple a day… finds you a husband!

Under the Apple Tree

One couple told us the story of spending a whole summer under an old apple tree. They passed the time in the shade of the tree, lost in each other. We made a set of rings from the wood of that apple tree where their two paths intertwined for the rest of their days. We always encourage our customers to provide their own materials so that what we create for them is something deeply symbolic and unique. What type of wood would you use to make a special ring? 

applewood ring

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The EXTRAordinary Crepe Birthday for Justina

The weather kept us in but didn’t keep us down! Our crepe birthday celebration for Justina on the fourth floor of our building was a huge success! Some of the highlights include: savory and sweet crepes by Allison, hooping tricks, Little Dragon, raspberry mojitos, Justina overcoming her fear of popping champagne bottles, impromptu jam session and Justina belting out her favorite anarchists tunes! We had a great time and wish Justina a very happy birthday!

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

Crepe Birthday for Justina photo

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What Inspires Us

It is easy to say that nature plays a huge part in what we do. But it is not just wood that keeps us excited here at Simply Wood Rings. It is every element of Nature that inspires us to create something truly beautiful!

It’s 9 am and the day begins with a quick peek out the window. There are two Peregrine Falcons that have found a lovely home, with the help of the Field Museum, outside our window. Everyone here has grown quite attached to the falcons, and we have lovingly named them “Mama and Papa Hawk” even though, we now know there is quite a difference between falcons and hawks. Some mornings the falcons will be there to say hello, and some mornings they are not. But, even if we only get to see a quick shadow swoop by, they fill our day with tons of excitement and happiness.

The falcons are a constant reminder to us of how humans and nature can co-exist. This tall brick factory provides us with a great place for a wood shop, and also closely resembles a cliff face to those birds who are seeking a home here in Chicago. We try to remember this every time we are making a ring.

What Inspires Us

Check out this live stream from one of nests in the Chicago area: http://1130falcon.click2stream.com/

Special thanks to the Field Muesem for the picture and the link http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/illinois-peregrines

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Go Green

With both Earth Day and Arbor Day coming up at the end of April, it seems like a good time to evaluate how we treat the Earth. Let’s make sure that it is with love! Here are a couple ways you can share your love for the Earth with others.

A billion acts of green.
Earth Day is April 22. The Earth Day Network is getting people to “pledge an act of green.” http://act.earthday.org/

Wedding Favor Trees.
Arbor Day is April 27. The Arbor Day Foundation offers gift trees as wedding favors. Do the Earth a favor, and give your wedding guests a gift to last a lifetime. Plant a tree! http://www.arborday.org/shopping/gifttrees/weddings.cfm

How will you help protect the planet, and help create a healthy, sustainable environment?
www.simplywoodrings.com

padauk set

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If we had a nickel…

love under the tree

If SWR had a nickel for every email we’ve sent… we’d be RICH!

We are in the process of re-vamping our website including migrating our email service and today we realized we’ve had 44,000 correspondences! Say ‘I’m awesome!’ if you’ve exchanged an email with SWR!

Keep them coming! We love our customers!

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New Wood Ring Shops

Chicago is the home of Simply Wood Rings’ artisan studio in Pilsen, where we handcraft each ring to your specifications. The new year has brought us some changes, and our new studio space is one of them. If you are in the Chicago area please give us a call or email us to check out our new studio and try on some wood rings. We think buying local is great, and Chicago seems to have that going on.

New Wood Ring Shops

We love Chicago, and we love the world! That’s why, in addition to being an Earth-friendly company, we’ve updated our online shop for better service to our global customers.

Check it out: Simply Wood Rings Shop

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Return to Nature

Return to Nature

While hiking, one of our customers from Austria lost his wooden ring in a waterfall. Rather than being upset about it, he thought it was a good place for it. The ring was returned to nature in a beautiful way. We are making a new ring for him, because his ring wasn’t lost, it just chose a new life.

This idea of being in a relationship with nature is one we like to focus on at Simply Wood Rings. We don’t want to take from the Earth, we instead want to work with the natural beauty that has been offered to us. While we create a wearable piece of jewelry that represents a bond between people, it is also allowing the Earth to be a part of that bond. It is about an exchange. An exchange between couples, customer and creator, person and Earth.

While we invite our customers to become a part of the process, the rings we create become a part of their lives. We respect the trees for cleaning our air, providing us with shelter, warmth, and food. Let us give thanks to the trees!

Our Eco-friendly rings can symbolize new beginnings and new life. Be grounded with the Earth, and put down your roots. Become a part of the process with us: simplywoodrings.com

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Simply Wood Rings on NBC!

On Tuesday, December 7th, Tracy DiNunzio from recycledbride.com did a segment on NBC nightly news in Los Angeles that featured alternative, second hand, and eco-friendly engagement rings.  Included in the segment was our own “Love is Now” walnut & maple moissanite engagement ring!  Thanks to Tracy and Recycled Bride!

View the video here.

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A Garden Party Wedding

Megan & Will Ryan had a beautiful old-fashioned garden party wedding, complete with paper lanterns and a barn dance.  They used a beautiful set of wooden rings to exchange vows, and were nice enough to send us this card in the mail. 

The rest of the pictures from their wedding are so bright & beautiful! 

They can be seen here.

Visit: Simply Wood Rings

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Grow Old with You – A Thank you from Simply Wood Rings

This video was put together by Sarah on vocals (Very nice job with covering this song) and Zandra doing the video editing. It was done as Thank you to all the wonderful Simply Wood Ring customers.

We thank you for your commitment to living an eco-friendly life and your decision to placing your love of each other in alignment with the earth.

View the video Here

Thank you.

Simply Wood Rings

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Ring of Life

My name is Zandra Rivera, and I’ve recently begun to work with Simply Wood Rings as a creative support. I am inspired everyday I come into the studio and am surrounded by so much beauty and love. I wrote the following based on hearing Gustav speak on a daily basis about his feelings towards his art and nature, as well as my personal reflections amidst this Earth.

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A Ring for a Cause: Simply Wood Rings donates to CASA

As part of my personal commitment to community, “Simply Wood Rings” donated a custom piece of art jewelry for an amazing, Chicago-based cause.

This month, the CASA (court appointed special advocates) program of Cook County held a cocktail reception and silent auction in hopes of raising funds for their non-profit organization that advocates for children’s rights in the Cook County court system.  All proceeds from the reception help to ensure that CASA of Cook County can continue providing trained volunteers to abused and neglected children in our communities.  These volunteers ensure that children have a voice in court and a chance to grow up in a safe, permanent home.

After the silent auction concluded, I was pleased to hear that the winning bid for my donation exceeded its actual value, so CASA received more compensation than I had intended!  I feel it is my responsibility to continue to support causes like CASA and believe we should all be more proactive in our respective communities.

Please visit www.casacookcounty.org for more information on how you can help.

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Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show – I am sad today.

I have been selected to participate in the 33rd Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Craft Show November 11-15 at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

I cannot say that I was not jumping for joy when I received my acceptance email a couple of days ago. Today I decided I was going to post about how I was humbled by the recognition and how one of the few male figures I respect as much as my own father Sam Maloof also exhibited at Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show in 1978. I found out today Sam Maloof died. He once said he was simply a woodworker by his own account, by the rest of the world he was a giant. You can google his name and see the impact he has had on it. As for me his impact on my life is beyond words. I am sad today.

-gustav

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Wood goes Couture.

Today, I had an entirely different blog post in mind – one about new work with which I have been experimenting – but more about that later. Excitingly, I was mentioned in a New York Times article today about how wood is making a come back in couture jewelry. Reading the article, I was reaffirmed of my belief that it is the impermanence of wood that I connect with most and the idea that life in all its glory is simply a process of growth and decay. Victoria Gomelsky mentions other designers, creators and artists, with which I am humbled to be mentioned. Her article illustrates how wood was used for jewelry in the past and suggests that the pendulum is swinging back.

You can read the article here.

gustav

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Some Bright News

Like the slender sapling that needs the sun to grow into a strong and sturdy Oak, we’re putting to use the abundant powers of sunlight to continue our growing endeavors as an environmentally conscious and socially responsible business. With the help of Affordable Internet Services Online, Inc., a company that offers solar-powered web hosting, Simply Wood Rings is now powered completely by sustainable energy.

This move was motivated by our continuing commitment to living lighter and our desire to celebrate the beauty of earth’s unrefined bounties, rather than exploit its natural resources. We believe “environmental responsibility” is more than paper or plastic; it is living in harmony with our earth.

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Jay Leno Loves Simply Wood Rings

One of Jay Leno’s Favorite Things.

… well, sort of. He may have been making a crack about wooden wedding rings, but we know he wouldn’t have mentioned us specifically on national television if he didn’t care. It’s okay to admit that you love the eco-conscious jewelry creations of yours truly, Jay – no one here will judge you. Actually, we believe that the fact Mr. Leno even made several ‘environmental’ jokes indicates a prominent and persistent awareness of and necessity for positive change. The more extreme and sometimes ill-received image of the enlightened college students who protest the production and sale of high emission vehicles or the gung-ho environmentalists who chain themselves to death-sentenced oaks are giving way in the minds of most consumers to the idea that small changes, like recycling all those soda cans that pile up as a result of your syrup and caffeine addiction (guilty as charged!) for example, can make big differences. We’re happy to be the butt of the joke if it contributes to this awareness. In fact, we were even inspired by Jay’s little rib-tickler to offer a T-shirt design that’s been in mind for some time…

– Sarah

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Wooden Rings

With just the normal care any fine piece of jewelry is given and some furniture wax. I handcraft every ring to bring out the warmth and honesty of the wood. Each ring is hand formed from wood chosen for its grain and durability. learning how to make a wooden rings has been a rewarding process of discovery which for me continues to this day. I have learned that the wood which is chosen carries more than just its physical traits but more than that the wood carries deeper meaning. Take white oak for example, sacred to the druids and the Greeks, the oak is a tree of strength, protection and durability. It represents inner fire, courage and nobility of spirit. The birch symbolizes birth and new beginnings. The Birch is feminine in nature and is used for protection, purification.

Your one of akind wooden ring will give you the warmth of knowing that the true value of a fine piece of handcrafted jewelry is knowing how much meaning it has.