From the studio of Steven Garfield on January Farm in historic Hunterdon County, NJ comes an elegant collection of hand-made American furniture called `Arbol (Spanish for tree).  The graceful 20-piece collection is comprised of coffee, nesting and dining tables, chairs and stools, and desks made from the indigenous species of woods found from nearby farms in what is America’s birthplace.  Each piece exudes a purity and natural beauty that is becoming the hallmark of a new era of artisan furniture. Made of walnut, cherry, apple, butternut and maple, the collection has its roots in the George Nakashima vernacular where Garfield once apprenticed, but is further evolved by such unique details as cast bronze or etched glass for bases, signature tapered laminated wood legs, and hand hammered wrought iron.
“We have these beautiful 100-200 year old trees in this area that are coming to the end of their natural life cycle and crying out for some new purpose,” says Garfield. “I’m in awe of what is out here.  I love the process of creating something new with these materials; there is a history and a value, as well as a great beauty and soul from these trees.”  Once an apprentice at the studios of George Nakashima while a student at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he studied painting, Steven Garfield honed his fine woodworking skills with Don Ruseau in New York City, maker of 17th & 18th century furniture reproductions for museums and private collections.  At the same time Garfield helped his wife Judith launch two different fashion design and manufacturing businesses, both enjoying successful runs over three decades and garnering much editorial praise.
In 2006 Garfield returned to furniture design, receiving commissions from discerning furniture collectors, designers and architects who clamored for these hand-made pieces that had a fine art quality to them, and yet were eco-conscious.  These high-end commissions were the impetus to design a full collection of furniture and name the pieces after the quaint towns of the New Jersey countryside where the woods originated.  Garfield oversees the entire design and production process: from the culling of trees to the milling, several-year drying process, to the crafting and hand-finishing of pieces with a special blend of natural oils.  Each Arbol piece is offered in a variety of woods and bases. The collection is available through architects, designers and through the website.

Steven Garfield was born in Northern New Jersey and spent summers in Loveladies, Long Beach Island.  At the age of 16, he was already studying painting with renowned American surrealist Leon Kelly (1901-1982) on Long Beach Island.  That same summer he met his future wife, Judith, with whom he has collaborated with in life and in design since 1966.  While studying painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, he had another life-changing event, working with famed craftsman furniture-maker George Nakashima (1906-1990) in his New Hope studio.  In the laboratory-like setting, Garfield learned the process of making fine furniture from the master.  "I learned a lot from George and the other craftsmen in the Nakashima studio, both technically and spiritually - the connection between the trees we used, the furniture we made, and the idea of creating something that was truly eco-conscious long before people talked about the kind of thing.  The studio was a very peaceful place and time flew by."
Garfield furthered his skills at the New York City studio of Don Ruseau, a maker of fine 17th and 18th century antique reproduction furniture for museums and private collections.  Now married, Judith and Steven started designing dresses under the label Judith Lowe.  Soon their clothes were on the cover of Town & Country and Harper's Bazaar and so began a successful 30-year career in the fashion industry.  The other label, TRIO New York, launched in 1993 and had a run of 10 years while also becoming a press darling.
A lover of the rural life and horses, Steven and Judith spent their weekends at farms they owned in Bucks county, PA and New Jersey, while raising two daughters in Manhattan.  They now reside full-time on January Farm in Hunterdon County, New Jersey where Garfield indulges in his two passions: woodworking and raising and training horses for polo and fox hunting.  He spends his day sketching, milling trees and working on his commissions and collection.  When not in his studio, you'll find him tending to his herd of horses.  "They live, work, train, and play together," says Garfield of his charges, all whom have Spanish names.  It seems only natural that his furniture line would have a Spanish name as well.  (Arbol means tree in Spanish.)  Garfield has ridden all of his life, has been a nationally ranked polo player, fox hunts and trains a new group of enthusiasts in these time-honored sports.

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