Joe Rieland

I am a true example of “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Growing up I always helped my Mom with art projects or some sort of creative endeavor. I recall being a young kid and hanging out with my Dad at his cabinet shop where I just wanted to tinker and build things. Because of that, working with my hands is in my blood. From pinewood derby cars to eventually shop class and then being in wood working competitions (not winning…); I was always drawn to some kind of project.

As I grew older and began my career, I felt as though something was missing. Many people call my work functional art, similar to what I do at work. I assist in the recovery of organs for transplant from deceased organ donors. Part of which is finding a new recipient for these organs. The commonality is evident in my tables; I am taking something that is no longer sufficient for what it was intended for and making it into something that can be used again. Having a creative outlet is what was missing. I needed a way and reason to get my hands dirty, and something to act as my own personal “Therapy.” After successfully producing my first re-purposed table, I was hooked!

My tables begin with a cast iron base; each is unique from its original purpose. They become the foundation and are paired with wood from the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair, the Kenosha Chrysler Automotive Plant or a barn in rural Wisconsin. Every piece is unique in its own way; it is not perfect, it has dents, dings, rust and beauty that only time can give.

Please enjoy!

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