What does 'rustic' even mean?

With the summer nearly full up with bookings we’re beginning to get prepped for the season ahead. But along with enquires we have also been planning and designing one of the more unique offerings at Buffalo- handmade furniture, or ‘rustic’ furniture. 

One of the most attractive things about our giant tipis is the natural finish of the timber ‘tent’ poles- a tree trunk from a particular species of Spruce that grows along a narrow band of latitudes in the far North of Scandinavia. Here the freezing winter breeds a species of tree that grows incredibly slowly, making them older, wiser and much stronger than your average. When they reach over 100 years old they are then ready to be a tent pole. I think this story of our tipi poles and their relationship with mother earth is what makes them interesting. In a society that's beginning to appreciate the natural world much more I also think it's part of what creates the charm of handmade natural products. 

We’ve become more conscious of how our day-to-day choices affect the environment, and for plenty of reasons, our newfound respect for the natural world is filtering down through the industries. We decorate, dress, clean, travel, trade and celebrate with environmental awareness, and it’s more obvious in events than most industries, with a booming festival culture and informal, natural wedding themes leading the way. People now love being outdoors, celebrating the outdoors and styling events with simple, upcycled and recycled bits. 

- of or relating to the countryside; rural.
- having a simplicity and charm that is considered typical of the countryside. Made in a plain and simple fashion.

The word ‘rustic’ is annoyingly over used, but I think it means well. I’d like to think it’s a great example of this growing respect for the environment/countryside and what it can give us. It might be a trend, but a natural and environmental approach to events- however they are styled- in my mind is something that we will continue to move towards. So a return to simple, natural and handcrafted goods and services that are delivered with honesty is a bloody great direction to be heading in. 

So, making ‘rustic’ tables and benches for my tipis is not a copy-cat thing that I’ve just seen work elsewhere. It’s something I feel quite passionately about and have been very fussy over. The simple, timeless charm of an unfinished timber trestle table and benches also reflects the tipi tents and their poles. 

Here are pictures of some prototypes we've been playing with. No shiny varnish or factory finished lacquer will be used on these. With tests still being done I plan to bring out the grain of this timber naturally and let the parties and feasts they seat and serve create the finish.