The Vine Woman, Laura Spector

Great story in the NYTimes about Laura Spector who goes out into the woods alone and cuts down all the vine(s) she can pull out to make something great out of something very bad.

[From the Laura Spector website.]

Apparently she targets Bitttersweet or Asiatic vine Celastrus orbiculata which has run amok in her part of the “woods”.

Her specialty, apparently a little of everything-sconces, mirrors, arches, furniture, etc. Good for her!

From the story:

“I go out into the woods alone, everywhere,” she said. “And I go deep,
a mile or two in from roads. The hardest part is schlepping the stuff
out alone. I have letters of permission from places like the Aspetuck
Land Trust and Aquarion, the water company. They’re happy to lead me to
the worst infestations, as long as I indemnify them in case I fall.”

Here’s another great piece from Laura’s website; which I am linking you to, the NYTimes does not.

[ One of Laura’s benches, I love that Koa wood slab.]

Great stuff, really great imagination. In her own words:

My work is unique in that it is influenced by the rich
and decorative18th Century British Romantic tradition.
British rustic is unique from its more familiar American
cousin, in that its graceful lines follow nature’s
whimsy yet suggest the complexity of wrought ironwork.

Finally this piece of railing:

[Very nice, keep up the good work Laura. ]

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Categorized as stuff

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Hi Rick,
    First of all, I want to thank you for your posting of my work on your blog.
    I LOVE the work you’re doing both in design and education. Your work results in beauty that endures because you are collaborating w/ nature- not fighting it. I never approach a project with a preconceived design agenda, I work with the curves and the natural form, and by so doing, by allowing nature a “voice” in the design, by repecting the way it flows and moves, bring not just grace to the form, but allow the energy of the source material to continue to flow, even once the design is set.
    This , I think is what rsonates with clients, editors and within the industry. Nature has always informed the decorative arts- so why not turn the table? Why not give the curvilinear, sinous forms that have inspired so many, its own place “in the sun.”
    Thank you again.
    I hope we someday have the opportunity to work together, be it a project or a seminar.

    Well thank you Laura for taking the time and stopping by my Blog. As for the post on your work-I had no choice. I had no choice because it’s great and it deserves the space and effort to let people know what great stuff you’re doing.

    I’d love to get together and do some seminar stuff with you. I have been thinking about putting on a one or two day event with the theme being “nature” as our teacher, and promoting, showing, cajoling, sharing ways to use the natural World for our designs-we will have to talk more.

    keep up the great work, and thanks for stopping by here. I’m sure we’ll talk more about this.

  2. Extraordinary ingenuity. The designs are intricate and eye-catching. Using parasitic vines for items of beauty does not deplete trees as is the case of most furniture items. In fact., eliminating the wasteful vines probably aids the tree population.

  3. Laura Spector’s designs are showstoppers. We have a shelf she designed a few years ago. We bought it at her “booth” at the Hampton Classic in Southampton, LI. Everyone who comes over asks where we got it and remarks that it isn’t just unique, it’s beautiful. I wish we had bought the indescribaly delightful arch to put in our yard. It makes one think of “The Secret Garden.”

    I love the way she combines function with natural-grown materials to make a whimsically fairy-tale piece of furniture or enhancer for a room, pieces that you can actually use for seating, storage and to change the look of a room, not simply an artistic purchase to stare at.

    And she gets rid of tree-strangling vines! Design magazines should have her front and center, but the variety of gardening, horticulture and “green” publications should feature her too!

    Terrific! Very chic!

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for the comment(s) and thanks for stopping by, good story about having some “Laura” in your life.

  4. Laura Spector is truly blessed by the Divine. She has given me hope in humanity…Her work was absolutely life changing for me. I’m speechless.

    She does do great stuff-and at the same time rids the forest of an unwanted vine-how could you not love that 🙂

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