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Meet Us at the Not Wedding!

Meet Us at the Not Wedding!
Event: THE NOT WEDDING
Details: August 14, 2014 – 6:30 PM @ City View Lofts
Special discount: check the end of the post to learn more.

We love all of our clients, so much. We love talking to them and collaborating with them and taking pictures of their bright, beautiful faces when they stop by the shop. Most of all: we love that we get to share in the making of a meaningful object.

Often, those meaningful objects are engagement, wedding, and commitment rings.  And we’re so excited to contribute to so many special days!

Because of this, we often find ourselves at wedding-centric events. We don’t often go to large conventional expos–most people there are on the search for more traditional rings–and so it’s special, niche events where we turn up. They’re chock-full of sweet people and pretty things, cleverness and magic and light. We were used to the idea of setting up the rings, talking to folks, being a part of the fair melee. We figured we knew the routine. Until now.

From our friends at Green Wedding Alliance (with whom we do the fantastic, annual “Committed” show), we heard about THE NOT WEDDING.

It’s not a wedding, but it’s not not a wedding.

And we’re pleased as punch to be providing the engagement rings and wedding bands for the not-couple, who are local Chicago married folks who will be renewing their vows at the event.

We’ll also be in the Tunnel of Love (vendor fair) to talk to guests about our rings and their dreams!

fetured vendor badge

So join us for a dynamite dinner, super-fun dance floor, and awesome, hand-picked vendor-rama to get some great ideas for your own special day.

Interested in coming? Want a discounted ticket? We’d love to share our golden tickets. Email Amanda at amanda @ gustavreyes DOT com to let us know!

the Not Wedding!

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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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Suzie & Niche & Their Rings

Our client Suzie sent us the SWEETEST email, one in a series of VERY SWEET emails:

“I just don’t think we would have ever felt like this about any other rings. It’s like they’re alive and a piece of us, a piece of one another. This morning I received a text from Niche stating how sad he was because he forgot to put his ring back on when he got out of the shower before work. And then a little later on he sent me one stating that it’s bad enough being without me all day, but since he’s been wearing his ring it’s like he can look down and there I am with him all the time and it makes his day better, but today he hasn’t even had that. It’s just crazy how something so simple like a wooden ring can carry so much weight.

I don’t usually like to place much value in material things, but these really are different. They really are a part of something. A part of us, and you, and the craftsperson, and Chicago, and the tree, and the stones, and the Earth. They really are FULL circles.

It’s just really nice and comforting to feel the ‘warmth of wood’  (pretty sure I stole that from y’all somewhere along the way) and know that there are people out there who have respect for and honor their work and nature.”

natural diamond ring

Sales-wonder Allison collaborated with Suzie to design this beautiful natural diamond, patina’d silver and rich walnut ring. Niche’s is a simple and beautiful walnut band, to match.

All of these beautiful photos below are by Martina Rachau!

Suzie & Niche & Their Rings
Suzie & Niche & Their Rings
Suzie & Niche & Their Rings

We congratulate Suzie and Niche on their matrimony, and on being awesome people!

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An Australian Wedding with Our Rosewood Rings, courtesy Photog James Day

“I Photograph People In Love”

Day messaged us to show us the beautiful images he’d taken of Kris and Brooke, two of our clients who recently wedded with a pair of our rosewood rings.

Rosewood Rings, courtesy Photog James Day
credit: James Day

You can see more of Kris and Brooke’s wedding, and James Day’s outrageously excellent work, here.

We love seeing where our rings end up! If you have one of our rings, we’d love to see a professional ceremony shot, amateur snap, or recent selfie. Show us your be’ringed adventures! Show us the work in beautiful motion! Email amanda (at) gustavreytes (dot) com with your shots and we’ll post them here!

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Client Visit Photoblog: A Lovely Couple Named Michael and Sarah, and Their Beautiful Fossil Rings

When Michael and Sarah came into the shop, you could feel the sweet energy coming off them. Their love was almost a physical presence. It was a hot, sticky day here in Pilsen, but knowing that we’d get to show Michael and Sarah their awesome fossil rings kept us alert. (What would we do after? Gulp some coffee and continue to serve, if a bit sluggishly…)

Michael and Sarah, and Their Beautiful Fossil Rings
Sarah and Michael’s rings, set with fossils they found together, and made with foraged Koa they brought from Hawaii.

Michael and Sarah, and Their Beautiful Fossil Rings
The couple admires Sarah’s ring!

Sarah Beautiful Fossil Ring
Sarah takes a closer look.

wood earring<
Sarah’s earrings are wood too! And beautiful.

Michael Beautiful Fossil Ring
The lovely couple…and baby-in-belly makes three!

Michael and Sarah, we wish you a happy and sweet life. Thanks for bringing your joy into the studio!

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Balance & Growth: Ebony/Birdseye Maple Wedding Set

Balance & Growth: Ebony/Birdseye Maple Wedding Set

These rings came out of the shop today and made us moon-eyed.

Partnerships are all about balance, or a constant engagement to work toward balance.

These rings — ebony and birdseye maple — present and enactment of those sweet efforts. The throughline, what binds them, is a shimmering inlay of ruby, yellow topaz, and mother of pearl.

In the pictured rough-hewn box, the rings will have a beautiful place to rest together, while their owners going swimming or rock climbing or whatever heavy activities they like to do.

A scrap of a poem, from Alice Notley’s “Clinical Thermometer with Moonstone,” via The Poetry Foundation: “I love you as a fan loves air. oops it’s vice-versa I told you about that character She is a bezel awaiting the plop of a ruby she must grow chronically”

We wish for the wearers of these rings to grow chronically, together, in balance, and to have a beautiful life together!

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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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Dreamin’ On: Monica & Bob Visit the Studio


Our new friends Bob and Monica

The other day, we had the most wonderful couple come in from Wisconsin. Monica’s a biologist-turned-found object artist, and Bob’s a musician. They drove to Chicago to bring us some wood, set up a custom order, and pick up her daughter from the airport. The weather was sweet and warm, and they planned to spend some time on the lake, but first, the business at hand.

Bob said they had been “dreamin’ on” our rings for a few years, and now it was finally time. From Monica’s family’s farm in Michigan, they had brought a piece of purpleheart, and hope to also use a lighter piece of wood accidentally left at home, and on its way to us now. They settled on the darker wood band for him, and the lighter wood band for her, with inverse linings. “A yin and yang sort of thing!” Allison said, and they nodded happily.

Dreamin' On: Monica & Bob Visit the Studio
Wood from Monica’s family farm

We are lucky, on an almost-daily basis, to witness such love and resolution and balance and partnership. It makes our chests thrum with buzzy delight! It’s all the more special that we get to hear stories of lives all over the world, of the people we work with and the wood which we are honored to set our hands upon.

After the ring decisions were made, Gustav showed Monica and Bob around the studio.

It emerged that Monica runs an arts center called Nisse House of Art, which hosts a gallery, shop, studios, and workshops for low-income rural women and girls, teaching arts, craftwork and life skills. So cool! Let us reiterate: we meet the best people.

After a long and winding talk about Gustav’s possibly-favorite tree, (the Ailanthus), about Chicago, and Monica’s childhood as a “country girl” living in Detroit and New York, and the shifting/growing/changing of our cities, Monica and Bob had to say goodbye.

We waved after them, feeling lighter and more joyous for having met them.

gus bob and monica<
Gustav, Monica and Bob talk wood.

After they left, Gustav reminisced more about the Ailanthus tree, which is famous in literary circles for playing the part of the “tree” of Betty Smith’s classic 1943 novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and famous in the inner-city, where it’s called “tree of heaven” and “ghetto palm,” and can grow through chainlink and concrete. “To take this tree that had such history in Asia, and bring it here as a decorative tree in front of Craftsman houses, and then it gets forgotten, but now it’s invasive, it still grows in vacant lots, through foundations, anywhere…” Gustav trailed off, and made a big sigh of awe.

From the novel:

“The one tree in Francie’s yard was neither a pine nor a hemlock. It had pointed leaves which grew along green switches which radiated from the bough and made a tree which looked like a lot of opened green umbrellas. Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenements districts.”

Ailanthus Tree
via Chicago Botanic Gardens

We’ve been thinking a lot about feelings of belonging lately: immigration, community, gentrification. Human beings are more mobile than ever. We’re less likely to live in the place where we’re born. We are children and children’s children of people who crossed borders and traversed oceans. We stand in the shade of trees which will be growing long after we are gone. We plant trees that will bear seeds that spread for miles.

At Simply Wood Rings, our work carries all of this with it. When a human wears a wooden ring, the two entities are suddenly on the same timeline. We are allowed to travel together, to move throughout the world: things rooted and mobile at once.

We wish Monica and Bob happiness and adventure, peace and joy. And we can’t wait to show them (and you) their rings!

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On Glitter, and Value

No one ever wants glitter.

We wish someone would!

Or perhaps ground pyrite (fool’s gold), shimmering under the finish as it would in the fast currents of the creek.

Pyrite elbe

Fool’s gold itself (image by Didier Descouens, via Wikipedia

At the studio, one of us remembers discovering a chunk of pyrite during a creek walk at Pilgrim Hills. She was five at the time, and only beginning to understand the idea of currency. Fishing it up from the sandy bottom, she hollered: “We’re rich!” Like Scrooge McDuck or Donald Trump. Her mother giggled a bit, had to explain as they walked home that though the rock was beautiful, it wasn’t gold. Their bank balance would remain the same. They would have to skip a lazy backstroke through a room-sized vault of doubloons. They watched a whitetail deer mince along the treeline. “But it’s still really beautiful,” her mother said. “You should keep it on your windowsill where it’ll reflect the light.”

At Simply Wood Rings, we work with this kind of beauty: the natural, the authentic. Sure: money helps us all live in our contemporary lives, but natural beauty feeds a different part. This is why we love doing what we do. We’re not only spellbound but inspired by our materials, their past lives, their journeys. They reflect our own evolutions as people on a planet full of uncountable types and forms of beauties.

Seashore's Muse: Rosewood and Mother of Pearl

Seashore’s Muse: Rosewood and Mother of Pearl

Consider: that we want our rings to call attention to this kind of natural wealth.
Consider: that for us, they do.

Be it glitter or pyrite or fossil or ancient woods.
Wishing you some beauty today, wherever you may find it.

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When Style Aids Authenticity

Style and adornment are a way to embolden and announce your interiority to the outside world. So, let’s all be authentic. Let’s all greet the world with kindness. Embrace who you are and who you strive to be.

Most of the people we work with come to us at a time of engagement, marriage or anniversary: they’re affirming and reaffirming their commitment to each other, the value of good Earth citizenship, and the lifecycle of matter.

But there isn’t any reason to save that celebration for just a romantic occasion

  • Consider, adorning your hand with a reminder of the things you believe.
  • Consider, giving your best friend a birthday present that means something special.
  • Consider, passing on a talisman of earth to a family member, a tree to the family tree.

We believe that we make objects that mean something, out of materials that are sustainable. By wearing one of our rings, you can make your own meaning. Why wait to have or give that?
Here are two new rings that we love, that work perfectly no matter the purpose.

When Style Aids Authenticity

Dyed birdseye maple with a rosewood interior.

In real life, this beauty shimmers like we imagine a mermaid might. Or, it is the silver of a spring, or the sweet ethereal mist of twilight. Wearing a ring like this inserts some magic dreaminess into the everyday.

 

When Style Aids Authenticity
Rosewood, using the natural color abnormality of the lumber

This one by design uses contrast and as a result feels uber-contemporary. Like dominoes or like black-and-white cookies, the colors work together strikingly. In it is confidence, a 3″-high newspaper headline, strength and force and elegance all at once.

Let our work be one small step toward matching your insides to your outsides. May you find pleasure therein.

Happy Wednesday!