Greenspiration Home’s American Made Décor “Pick-of-the-Week”
By Carolyn Tierney
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but these simple frames from Green House Framing, our latest American Made Pick-of-the-Week weave a tale unto themselves. They are made from wood salvaged from the infamous Oregon State Hospital for the criminally insane and location for the filming of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” If that isn’t inspiration for a quirky, fun collection of photos and a little extra bit of dinner conversation, we don’t know what is.
Green House Frames sources salvaged wood for all its frames and other accessories, incorporating a little bit of history and even intrigue into each one. Owners and life partners, Lisa Pratt and Lars Jorgensen, have reclaimed wood from everything from wine vats to an old leather tannery dating back to the 1800’s.
Dumpster Diving for Inspiration
The couple started their reclaimed frame business in Baltimore, MD, creating frames from wood sourced from dumpsters. They later moved to Portland, OR where a handful of deconstruction companies allowed a dream to blossom. Today all their wood materials are sourced locally and the frames made in their Portland workshop. Low VOC stains are used to bring out the natural beauty of wood that might otherwise end up in a landfill.
“We knew we wanted to make something sustainable before we even knew what we wanted to make. At the time we started the business, I was a buyer for a large photo chain and saw pictures frames as a natural choice that could be made sustainably,” said Lars.
The couple’s dedication to “American made” is twofold. They were drawn to the idea of being “connected” to the products they sell, and with Lars as the woodworker and Lisa as the finisher, that connection is quite literal from the design to the hand-rubbed finishes. Lars and Lisa are also sensitive to the working conditions in other parts of the world, which drives them to keep operations close to home.
“It’s hard for us to turn a blind eye to what happens to workers in countries where most picture frames are made,” said Lars.
On Their Terms
Lars and Lisa are well aware that their business model operates completely outside of current industry standards. Independently minded, they set their own guidelines for operating an environmentally conscious shop where their goal has always been to preserve art while preserving the environment. This means that all their materials and processes are selected based on their low impact on the environment. It’s been that way since the company launched 2002.
So – when a mass-produced, pressed-wood frame made in sweatshop in some far off corner of the world seems incongruous with your precious artwork or family photos, remember, you do have options. Keepsakes and memories can also be encapsulated with wood that may have come from an old Port of Portland shipping crate…. or maybe even a notorious insane asylum.