Saturday, September 04, 2010

Trash to Treasure

In a house in Cow Island, a married couple routinely stares at old and unusual objects they purchased at a flea market or found on the side of the road. The wife will pick something up like a porcelain doorknob or hammerhead and wonder how it can once again be functional. She’ll look through magazines for inspiration, sketch designs on paper or just close her eyes and think. When an idea comes to her, she explains it to her husband and the two of them bring it to life.

“We create trash to treasure items,” says Rita Faulk. “Most of them are made completely from recycled materials. We use a lot of knobs and wood from old doors.”

David and Rita Faulk’s company, My Favorite Things, produces original and functional artistic objects. Depending on available materials and the imagination of the husband and wife team, the product line changes on a daily basis. Sometimes a light fixture becomes a candleholder, chair backs are made into towel racks, and a rake is altered to display pictures and postcards.

“If I can’t make the item that I’m imagining in my head, then I ask David for help,” says Mrs. Faulk. “Sometimes what I visualize can’t be done, so we start over.”

Mrs. Faulk, who studied merchandising and decorative painting, has always had an interest in design. Mr. Faulk is a trained carpenter who studied architectural drafting and furniture making.

“I enjoy working with my hands and with wood,” says Mr. Faulk. “I love looking at something that I’ve made and knowing where it started.”

Both Mr. and Mrs. Faulk had careers in other industries for many years. Their interests in design grew however, and they began working on side projects together.

“We started making decorative trashcans,” says Mrs. Faulk. “After a while, we moved onto small pieces of furniture.”

According to Mrs. Faulk, the most challenging part of making recycled and functional art is finding the materials to create it. Her resources include the internet, flea markets and items she finds on the side of the road.

“I love the thrill of the hunt of finding rare objects,” says Mrs. Faulk. “The best part of bringing my design ideas to life is having someone else appreciate and enjoy them.”

The Faulks also own and operate the company, Cow Island Woodworks. They repair, design and manufacturer wood products like storm shutters, desks, cabinets, armoires, benches, beds, chest of drawers, nightstands, entertainment centers, gun cabinets, mantelpieces and dining room and end tables.

“Every job is different and has to be approached differently,” says Mr. Faulk. “The most challenging part is creating the best product possible, while staying in a budget.”

I first learned about the Faulks’ creations a few years ago when seeing a My Favorite Things booth at the Maurice Flea Market. I greatly appreciated their creative products, especially a hat rack made from old hammerheads, and a magazine rack made from bicycle baskets and a sawhorse (which I bought and still use).

When I recently interviewed the Faulks, they gave me a tour of their workshop as well as showed me a couple of projects they were currently working on. They even let me paint a piece of wood from an old door that would eventually become a coat rack.

What I found most interesting about the Faulks is that before joining forces, they both had separate and successful jobs in other fields. But together, their skills and interests in design and manufacturing enabled them to pursue other opportunities. Like the products this couple create from ideas, determination and recycled materials, they brought to life a truly original and functional career.

The Faulks’ creations are available at the Maurice Flea Market and T-Boy’s Flea Market in Abbeville. For more information on the services offered by Cow Island Woodworks, call 337-652-8334.

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