Electric Mirror Reaches Out to Lift Up Local Economies
By Sally Gillie
(January 1, 2015) Looking for ways to bring new economic life into struggling local communities has Electric Mirror joining with Urban Hardwoods to support a project called Freedom, Wealth, and Poverty.
Freedom, Wealth, and Poverty was launched by a non-profit organization called Agathos International earlier this year as a way for business leaders to lend the expertise that’s made them successful to others who need help.
“The point is getting together businesses and entrepreneurs to engage in a conversation about what is our responsibility, and what we can do in our communities that need to see some economic benefit,” said R. Marc Fulmer, President of Agathos International.
Electric Mirror President and CEO Jim Mischel said, “I’m so excited about the potential for this project, and to be focused on it with Urban Hardwoods. I love working with like-minded companies, but especially when they, like us, are creating such amazing interior products.”
Bryan Reed, general manager of Urban Hardwoods, is also pleased to be working with Electric Mirror and Agathos. “I like how it creates opportunities for those that really need it and our participation is so much more fulfilling than simply making a donation,” said Reed.
Creating an opportunity when it appears there isn’t any is how Urban Hardwoods was founded. The Seattle company reclaims old urban trees that would otherwise be scrapped after dying, being destroyed by storm, or if too hazardous to remain.
Those once discarded trees are salvaged by Urban Hardwoods artisans, who turn them into one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, each one a celebration of that tree’s best qualities.
“We work with material that’s difficult,” said Reed, “trees with lots of knots, cracks and inclusions.”
According to Reed, urban trees that have been enjoyed to their fullest may come with nails or bolts from a rope swing or fort, or even have places where cement has been used to patch a spot where a limb has fallen off. “Most lumber yards won’t touch these trees,” said Reed. Before Urban Hardwoods, these treasures were simply burnt or ground into sawdust.
Transforming them into beautiful furniture begins with a drying process that can take as long as four years. Once done, work can begin, and whether it’s a 20 foot conference table, dining room table, or bench, “You can always see the tree in the finished piece,” said Reed.
The species of trees that are harvested by Urban Hardwoods are varied and include English and American Elm, Maple, Madrona, Cedar, and Oak. See the fascinating story of Urban Hardwoods on video here.
If you are interested in learning more about how you or your business can join Electric Mirror and Urban Hardwoods in Agathos International’s Freedom, Wealth, and Poverty program, visit their website at www.agathosinternational.org.