Nostalgia of twig furniture is re-created in how-to book

HOMESTYLE

December 08, 1991|By Linda Lowe Morris

Maybe it's a reaction to the chaos and complexity of our lives that we suddenly find ourselves attracted to twigs.

Open the pages of any high-class house magazine and at least one article features the rustic look. And right out in front, there's a rocking chair or picture frame or some such thing made of tree branches.

You can't look at this stuff without thinking of your childhood -- of days spent in scout camp or sitting on your grandmother's porch -- a time when life was gentler, more innocent.

Now usually what's suddenly hot in the world of design is also suddenly unaffordable. And that's true with twig furniture. But in this case we have an edge -- the raw materials are all around us and great woodworking skills are not required. We can make our own.

If you need encouragement, there's a new book, "Making Twig Furniture & Household Things" (Hartley & Marks, paperback, $14.95) by Abby Ruoff. It contains directions for making 35 different items from twigs, vines and birch bark. Designs include the complex -- a love seat, a chaise longue, a truly amazing folding chair -- and the simple -- a lamp table, a basket planter and several styles of picture frame.

Author Abby Ruoff is an interior designer and art teacher who began making this kind of furniture, she explains in the book, because she couldn't afford to buy it. When she and her husband were trying to furnish a vacation home, they priced new and antique twig furniture and decided both were beyond their budget. They started off with an armchair and found they enjoyed the building process as much as having the finished chair.

Ms. Ruoff's book is written like a cookbook, with a recipe format for each project that includes both photographs and diagrams.

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