Company replicates the authentic look and feel of historic western furniture, delivering unique home decor and rustic framing options that perfectly capture the pioneer flavor of Central Oregon.
Tumbleweeds in Sisters replicates the authentic look and feel of historic western furniture, delivering unique home decor and rustic framing options that perfectly capture the pioneering flavor of Central Oregon. Artist Dave Cretsinger has been restoring old materials and creating original works of art for the home and ranch for 15 years. From his shop out in Crooked River Ranch, the master woodworker builds useful things to be admired and appreciated, instilled with the passionate spirit of the west.
“I was a carpenter in the Salem area for years and got tired of the construction end of things and decided to leave the valley and open a retail store, Tumbleweed Country Store, here in 1998,” he said. “That went great and I was making stuff for the store: shelves, benches and picture framing using founds items and tossed away wood. After we closed the store I bought a welder and picked up a forge and an anvil and started doing some light blacksmith work.”
Each rugged piece that leaves his workshop has a distinct character and personality all its own. Cretsinger enjoys picking out particular trinkets and weathered objects and placing them on the furniture, integrating and fusing them with decorative studs, iron and leather accents. In addition to end tables, bar stools, coat and hat hangers, Cretsinger also crafts forged steel towel bars, fixtures and toilet paper holders for the bathroom.
“I started bringing together the old barn wood and harness leather and steel and that seems to be a good combination of aged material I restore back to life. You never know what’s underneath a piece of dirty, manure-crusted piece of wood. You start cleaning it up a little to bring out the luster and find the treasure under the soiled wood. I take a wire brush or wire wheel and sand it a little. You’d be shocked what a little work will do to something that was out rotting in a pasture.”
In building the business, Cretsinger noticed a niche nobody else was doing: old barn wood refined to a finished, lacquered state, and capitalized on the market vacancy.
“Prepping any new piece really brings alive the natural color in the wood, the golden, rusty colored hues are really beautiful,” he said “I’ve always loved history and as a kid I took old pieces of wood and glued antique pictures on them.”
Always searching for interesting curios and cowboy collectibles to blend into his art, he also collects old horse bits, single-tree draft horse harnesses and horseshoes, anything to add a sense of distinction and charm to his memorable work.
“I love bringing history to life again and the fact I’m reusing things that came about years ago. I like to use worn horseshoes because every horse wears a shoe down differently. I guess I’m just old-fashioned. I also make custom frames for people trying to preserve treasured mementos and family artifacts. A lot of the wood comes from people who are trying to burn it or throw it away. They think it’s not worth anything.”
Cretsinger’s creations were featured in Bend Living Home magazine in October 2008, in an article on a custom home of Bob and Teresa Dunn’s behind Smith Rock.
“I did their sliding television cabinet and bar front out of old corral boards which were originally part of the ranch property,” he said. “She brought me some old black and white portraits of her and her husband in their childhood riding ponies and I built them frames using barn wood, leather, an old cowboy scarf, horseshoe nails, rivets and rope. They were really happy with it all and have been a great customer of mine since we had the store. Every year Teresa has me frame one of the Sisters Rodeo posters. Last Christmas I did a cool belt buckle display for her husband out of old harness leather and steel and corner accents.”
Tumbleweeds furniture and decor can be found at all major art fairs and craft shows in Redmond, Bend and Sisters. He also does custom orders for homes and businesses and is available for private consultations to create whatever one-of-a-kind interior design needs imagined. The feverish spec homebuilding activity in Central Oregon has cooled but that has not slowed Cretsinger due to the uniqueness of his creations, made to fit people’s lives and homes at truly affordable prices.
“Luckily, the slow economy hasn’t really affected me, and I’m very fortunate for that. The funny part, I was busier this winter for custom items than any time in the past,” he said. Right now I’m doing a pair of bar stools with a custom brand on them. I can do any sort of piece for any occasion or celebration, with personalized features and engravings to further customize it. It just suits this area we live in. It fits the West. There’s nothing I won’t try and will accommodate any idea brought to me.”
For Cretsinger, reimagining Mother Nature into lasting works of art is a satisfying lifestyle.
“My daughter, Aubrey, is going to start helping me this year making earring holders from vintage wood, so she’ll have a big part in designing some new things. We just had our first grandchild last month and so she’s tending to that but is very artistic. This is kind of a family deal and my wife Diana helps me out at the shows a lot. One of the best things about doing this are the people I meet and the friendships I develop. And half the fun is in the hunt to find stuff to use in each new piece.”
For orders or questions you can find Tumbleweeds on Facebook at Tumbleweeds Art or 541-350-1982 or l email@example.com.