By Holly J. Coley
Photo by dkol Photography
If you love modern, rustic home furnishings but hate big-name-store generic designs, head to Rooster
Studios where you’re sure to find goods that will have your friends asking, “Where did you get that?” From mason jar soap dispensers ($30) to exquisite hand-turned salad bowls ($200), everything is one of a kind and handmade. And did we say unusual? Some of the items are even made from the roots of a tree!
The woodturner and creator behind Rooster Studios is Jennifer Hasan, a visionary with an extensive knowledge of trees who has been selling her pieces since 2012. With a reverence for nature, she takes repurposing to new levels. (Fun fact: In her spare time, she builds heated cat houses for feral felines in her neighborhood so they have a warm place to stay during winter. She frequently posts photos on Instagram and Facebook of her fur babies “protecting” her items as they dry outside, and yes, she spays/neuters and names them all.) That reverence has led her to find new and exciting ways to reuse trees (local and international) that have already been cut down. In fact, it’s not uncommon for her to follow utility trucks to collect the fallen limbs and branches from their work. What they see as trash, she sees as material for a new tray, cutting board or rolling pin. “I let the wood decide for me,” she once told me when we met back in 2014. After procuring her materials (sometimes the utility companies will deliver their findings to her yard) she’ll examine the wood, and the creative juices wash over her. The texture and patterns of the wood have their say, and before she knows it, a piece of cherry or black walnut is transformed into its new life as a salt cellar or yarn bowl.
While she’s always been creative, woodworking came later in her life after taking a class in the art. Soon she was exploring techniques to shape the wood into various forms and scouring Craigslist for an inexpensive lathe (wood-turning tool) to bring home to her studio. Some items have rich histories, like the handmade Balmville Cottonwood Spoons ($75) that were part of the oldest eastern cottonwood ever recorded in U.S. history. The Charcuterie Board ($125), which is part of her Beautiful Roots collection, came from the roots of an old copper beech tree in Beacon, NY. Some other types of trees that show up in her work include ancient kauri, spalted maple, butternut, apple, cherry, black walnut and regular walnut. Pieces are soaked in walnut oil and left to dry naturally for a hard, food-safe finish. For customers who want things personalized, Jennifer offers free-hand or burned stamped monogram engravings. Custom orders are welcome. (Another fun fact: She made this beautiful vanity stool for yours truly. Jealous?) “[I] put the wood on the lathe and it’s just going to do what it does,” Jennifer says. “They really are like diamonds in the rough. You never know what you’re going to get.”
For Mid-Hudson Valley residents, Jennifer offers a unique way to continue enjoying a special tree after it’s been taken down. Using logs from the fallen tree, she will make heirloom bowls that will be treasured for generations. Email her for an estimate at Jennifer@Rooster-Studios.com.