WRITER | CANDIE CONAT
PHOTO l LONG WHITE BEARD
In 2014, Dan Erickson and Shelby Holtzman partnered to create and launch Long White Beard. Together, they are the perfect team, creating one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and other unique home goods. When they met, Holtzman was already creating pieces in her basement woodshop. They began discussing how they might expand on her abilities and incorporate talents that Erickson brought to the mix.
Initially, the team sold their home goods to friends and family and on Etsy. They found immediate success there and soon needed to set up shop in a space larger than Holtzman’s basement. When they started, industrial-style pieces were in high demand. While the industrial look is still popular, the live edge trend has gained popularity, and they have found themselves being asked to create these larger-than-life, high-end pieces.
Live edge style is the art of taking a log from a large tree and slicing it into several large, thick slabs of wood with raw, unfinished edges where the bark used to be – a smooth live edge with its natural curves and contour. The partners take advantage of that natural edge to create one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture of the best heirloom quality.
From the start, Holtzman was committed to becoming a top artist in the world of woodworking. According to Erickson, she has done exactly that. She is always ready to learn new techniques and create new designs, which means she is also up for new challenges. Creating live edge pieces has been an amazing challenge that she has conquered with pride. Erickson’s expertise lies in fabricating custom metal bases for tables, lamps, stands, and more. All fabrication is done in house based on the needs of customers.
These partners are proud that their customers trust them with their vision for a finished piece. Often, customers will show up with a preconceived idea of what they want but have no idea how to get there. The customer selects a slab of wood from the ever-changing collection of 20 to 30 slabs available in the studio, describes what they see their new piece of furniture to be, and the team is off to make it happen.
Long White Beard has formed an interesting partnership with Live Edge Detroit, a tree service that specializes in preserving wood from trees on a customer’s property around the city of Detroit. If a tree must be removed for some reason or has fallen due to age or weather, Live Edge Detroit will handle the removal and use the trees to create live edge slabs. Many of those customers then engage Long White Beard to create custom pieces made from trees taken from their property. Talk about repurposing at its best!
Long White Beard creates pieces for both residential and commercial applications. Holtzman and Erickson are currently working on a super-secret project that includes a 30-foot laptop bar with built-in USB ports for a new business in Midtown Detroit. The bar is a live edge top made from walnut with a custom steel base, and it is a sight to behold, according to Erickson. I can’t wait to hear more details on this project then it’s revealed to the public!
Long White Beard 860 Livernois Street, Ferndale MI 48220 l (248) 506-2470 l LongWhiteBeard.com