In the market for a wooden bow tie? A ring that resembles a tiny tree stump, perhaps? I thought so. Meet Ferndale-based FourChamberForge., specializing in custom furniture, rad jewelry and accessories made from trees, leather, metals and more.
“I just like natural materials that aren’t innately valuable,” says Chris “Burkey” Burkeybyle, the company’s sole proprietor, designer and creator. “The value is added through work and insight.” Burkeybyle, a self-taught woodsmith, grew up on the “make it, don’t buy it” mentality. A few years ago he created his first ring out of his own firewood in hopes of winning the affection of a gal (insert “sappy” pun here) only to, in turn, be given a hard time (lovingly, of course) by other female friends for leaving them out. The positive feedback lead to his first booth at Ferndale’s DIY Street Fair in 2008 and a few fairs and markets since from Chicago’s Renegade Craft Fair, to the occasional space at the Rust Belt Market. City Bird downtown carries his wares and you can shop his stuff at Old Hollywood in Brooklyn as well. Oh, and that rad bench at Cacao Tree Cafe in Royal Oak? Burkeybyle made it.
His work, crafted from a range of tree types from cherry, oak and mulberry to lignum vitae, black locust, juniper and more, has become recognizable for its simple yet smart design, earthy beauty and undyed, unstained and generally uncompromised integrity of the original wood. “I try not to screw up what’s naturally there,” he says. It’s not uncommon to be stopped when wearing one of Burkeybyle’s signature pendant necklaces, unique earrings or chunky rings to be asked, “Is that a Burkey?”
Burkeybyle just completed his spring collection featuring new necklaces and earrings with chains and metals in geometric shapes (think smooth rectangles of purple heart with circular inlays and a lot of emphasis on the grain), a wooden bow tie debut (and leather, too!), belt buckles, drop thigh holsters and other rustic chic accessories. Click the gallery below to explore more.