Having worked together for ten years in Vermont, Ellen Markel and Christopher Bretschneider renewed their collaboration in 1999 with the founding of P.L.U.M. WORKS.
From their roots in traditional furniture making, the two have evolved new visions of design, each creating dramatically original pieces as well as the traditional pieces on which they built their reputations.
Their experimentation and williness to break through many of the traditional boundaries of furniture design mean that the P.L.U.M. WORKS portfolio offers clients unparalleled choices when commissioning furniture for the home or office.
I have always been drawn to the idea of creating something tangible in our increasingly virtual world.
Toward this end, I have pursued my longstanding interest in
the design and fabrication of pieces for interior spaces. In
1986, I began a traditional European-style apprenticeship at
a small father-and-son cabinet making shop in Shoreham, Vermont.
Over the next decade, I learned traditional joinery and finishing
processes together with the principles of classical design. I
continue to rely on these classical principles, but having mastered
these skills, I began pursuing my own design aesthetic and other
less traditional expressions of my craft.
My goal is to create pieces that are stripped of their historical associations but retain a sense of balance and proportion. It is my hope that these explorations embody a simpler aesthetic that creates an environment in which each individual can find her or his own sense of self expression.
I have been making custom furniture since 1979. After apprenticing
with my father at our shop in Shoreham, Vermont, I devoted much
time and energy to mastering the skills of traditional craftsmanship.
The success of this endeavor may be measured by the high quality
of my furniture and the testimonials of my clients.
By 1990, waning enthusiasm for traditional work inspired a
search for new opportunities. This led me to a course of study
at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth that culminated
with a strikingly new body of work and an M.F.A. I expanded my
method of working by supplementing the precision and repetition
of craft with the uncertainty and excitement of art. This new
direction is an exploration of dreams and visions, constructed
of carved elements whose shape and arrangement are not dictated
by tradition. Best of all, the opportunity to create original
works has engaged my imagination. Enthusiasm is back.
I continue to craft traditional pieces for clients while developing my personal expression. Having empowered my imagination, I am doing fine work in both realms.