We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Kruse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.” -Pete Seeger.
I started my business from recycling wood, be it pallets, fence and gate boards, or discarded wood pieces from bulk pick up piles left outside. I wanted to do something with it and that is when I starting carving landscapes, portraits and objects out of what I collected. As the quote says and it is my mantra to do what I can to reuse, refinish and find ways to recycle.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For most all my life, I have been doing some form of art. As a kid, he would hang out in my father’s workshop learning woodworking skills while helping him with his wood projects. My business, Signed in Wood brings together my passion for art and the love for all the different types of wood that I learned long ago.
I make one of a kind art pieces using reclaimed, recycled and salvaged wood. I keep the natural curvatures, grains, and finishes to produce pieces with rustic character and interest. The wood comes from shipping pallets, fences, and discarded lumber. I pick out these pieces of wood and use self-taught methods to stain them with organic pigments, such as chili powder, turmeric, rusty nails and mixing them with vinegar.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would start the day on the back deck with a fresh brewed cup of coffee. Get on the bikes and pedal around Buffalo Park (Flagstaff), stopping in the meadow to take in the wonder of the Ponderosa Pines and views of the San Francisco Peaks. We would then ride downtown Flagstaff and sit out on the patio at Fratelli’s Pizza and eat some wood fired pizza and sip an ice cold IPA.
In the afternoon I would take my friend downtown and to the Artist Gallery (17 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001) where I currently have my artwork hanging. We would peruse all the fine artists in the gallery. We would walk around into the other cool shops in the area and finish at Dara Thai for some green curry.
Next day we would head up to Humphreys Peak stopping in the aspen forest to convene with nature and stroll through the woods. We would then head up to the ski resort and hike to Locket Meadow to see the wild ferns.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shout out goes out to my dad. From the time I was able to walk I would follow my dad around his shop. He was always teaching me new things, new tools and creative ways to tackle projects.