The minute we laid eyes on the first spoon woodworker Rochelle Cheri posted on instagram, it was love. This gal is the awesome (and dare we say a bad ass!?) force behind Primitive Reserve, a Los Angeles based woodworking studio turning out some very impressive and unique hand made goods on the daily. No really, she is one hard working lady whose labor of love has her chiseling, sawing and sanding down planks of wood for most, if not all, of the week.
With her collection now spanning from coffee scoops, to cutting boards and amazing minimalist wooden wall artwork – we’re pretty sure it would be easy to outfit an entire dining room with all her goods and look incredibly chic.
Recently we popped in for a studio visit to hear about Rochelle’s process, inspirations and how to keep your chin up when you’re running your own small business. Her studio setup is unique, with other hard working artisans (metal workers, masons, you name it) nearby for collaborations or just a friendly coffee break. It is such an unassuming yet powerful space that its resources have not only crossed over into Rochelle’s work (hello brass handle cutting boards) but in turn, several other artisans have started visiting her space to learn how to work with powerful…and somewhat scary, wood working tools.
There is no question that she is an inspiring creative talent who is on the move crafting original modern pieces that we can’t wait to start collecting for our own homes. Rochelle Cheri is one to watch folks… and we’re loving each and every splinter of perfection flying out of her space.Above images courtesy of Rochelle Cheri
Name: Rochelle Cheri. Studio: Primitive Reserve
Stomping Grounds: Los Angeles. My studio is in Glassell Park which I love. The neighborhood is small and full of resources for my business (wood, metal, and marble vendors all at my fingertips). Plus, it’s super close to Silver Lake and Atwater Village where I like to grab coffee or a bite.
Images: Kristin Guy
You have a background in production design. What is the story behind your first first small scale object that spun your line of gorgeous home wares?
Production design was far too unstable and chaotic for my taste. I eventually got a corporate gig art directing a retail space but that didn’t satisfying my creative mood either, it was time to start thinking about what would ultimately make me happy. I had this little dream of becoming a furniture maker for years but never had the guts to do it until two years ago when I was wasting away behind a desk. I found myself sketching out ideas of small home wares A LOT so I knew it was time to get a proper studio to start making those drawings a reality. I started with cheese/serving boards because who doesn’t want to display tasty treats on an awesome wood board?
How do you stay inspired and keep the work coming out of your studio fresh? Is there a particular soundtrack or type of caffeinated bevvy that keeps you on track while getting down to business?
I practically have ice coffee on tap in my studio and am loving the Reservoir Dog’s soundtrack at the moment.
Above Images From The Primitive Reserve Instagram Feed
Where’s your favorite spot to take a creative break? What should we order?
I like to go hang at Silverlake Coffee when I’m in need of getting out of the studio. They make a killer turkey wrap.
What’s one piece of business advice you’d give to other small-scale creatives wanting to pursue their craft full time?
Keep at it, don’t give up when things get hard. Small creative ventures cost more than you think so keep some freelance work on the side because the cash flow can help balance out your start up costs.
Images: Kristin Guy
Whats next!? We’re particularly loving the addition of the brass details on your cutting boards and leather straps on the coffee scoops. Any other mixed-material experiments in the works or new pieces we can expect in the near future?
Ohhhh thank you, I love mixing materials! I’m definitely seeing white concrete in my future and perhaps some different metals I haven’t worked with yet.
Amazing craftsmanship! We’ll take one of each please…no seriously, those wood and brass cutting boards are to die for. To get your hands on some wooden wonders of your own, head over to the Primitive Reserve online shop and sure to check back often as new items are posted as they are completed!