Friday, November 16, 2012

Recylcing: It's the right thing to do.

America Recycles Day is an annual reminder that we all need to do what we can to reduce waste by reusing and recycling.

Technically, we're a day late on this one, but in the theme of yesterday's America Recycles Day, we have decided to reuse the theme, hereby naming Friday, Nov. 16, America Recycles Day Redux. This is an idea that is easy for American Leather to get behind because we reuse and recycle everything. No matter what it is -- wood, leather, foam or hardware -- if we can't find a use for it, we find someone who can. This is the way we've always run our factory, which regularly astounds first-time visitors for its clean and orderly condition.

But enough about American Leather. This is about what we all can do to reduce waste by recycling. This site for America Recycles Day offers several good ideas for recycling programs large and small, but it's all just a lot of talk -- much of it recycled (get it?) -- until we make it a regular practice. The hardest part is just getting started, setting up a system for separating recyclables from the stuff that is legitimate garbage. Once you have that organized, it's simply a matter of putting the plastic bottles and metal cans where they belong, rather than dumping it all into the garbage can.

Unfortunately, some of us are unwilling to make recycling a habit, as though it's a political statement or an undesirable style pose to be doing something that is environmentally smart. It's a shame that these attitudes exist. In the hopes that these words will wind up in front of some folks who heretofore had resisted recycling, consider this from the America Recycles Day website:

Recycling is the easiest thing we all can do 365 days a year to save energy, conserve natural resources and create green jobs.
• Our national recycling rate of 34 percent:
— Saves the energy equivalent of nearly 229 million barrels of crude oil or nearly
20 days of all U.S. oil imports.
— Saves Americans the equivalent of the annual energy consumption of nearly 
14 million US households per year.
— Avoids greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to removing more than 
36 million cars from the road each year, or growing nearly 5 billion tree 
seedlings for 10 years.
• Recycling is a multibillion dollar industry that employs millions of Americans and 
helps advance our clean energy economy.

So in a nutshell, when you recycle, you are a Maker, not a Taker. In fact, you will be a Job Creator. And as we all now know, those are good things. So let's get with it. Let's recycle.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The beauty's in the details

A devotion to detail produces furniture with the beauty of jewelry

Something as simple as the stitching and the seam on the front edge of this sofa's arm must be straight and true or it will be upsettingly wrong, unacceptable. Most people will not give that seam much thought, but hopefully we've piqued your interest just enough that you'll now take a moment to notice the tailoring on the next sofa you sit on. Is it as clean and precise as this. Believe it or not, seams this straight require skill and craftsmanship and a whole bunch of engineering beforehand to make sure the frame and leather pieces go together just so.

And there are literally dozens of examples that can be cited in every piece of furniture, although many of them can't be seen. For instance, next time you sit on an upholstered chair, squeeze the arm. Then reach down and run your hand along the side panel. How did all that feel? Could you feel edges of the framing under the arm or was the padding thick enough to hide the hard parts? On the side, was it all padded and reinforced, or was it hollow?

In many cases, the beauty can be found in the shape, the design. Consider the side profile of the Lennon collection's back: 

The plane, angle and shape of Lennon's back create an appealing contrast to both the arm and the back cushion. It works so well and seems so simple, but a ton of creative thought went into developing that design.

There are tons of examples in the American Leather line. Small details that by themselves may not catch your attention. But study it a bit, and we think you'll be impressed. For instance, the button tuft on the seat of the Luxe sofa. A lot of sewing created that perfect little tuft, one of dozens on each piece from the Luxe collection:

The elegant sweep of the Alyssa chair's back:

Or the ready-to-leap stance of the Sandy collection's legs:

These are the small details that make a design special, the beautiful elements that -- we believe -- give our furniture many of the the lovely facets of jewelry. 

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