Working in the tradition of the Old Florida artisan, Ty Tyson collects and prepares
his own materials, and works in his barn workshop on the property adjacent to his
home. Florida has a long tradition of using what the land had to offer. Homes
operated without air conditioning, collected rainwater off the roof, and were built
of termite-resistant heart pine. Today we call this "green" and "sustainable" living.
Ty builds his furniture in the same "green" manner. The various types of palms
used in his furniture are all collected from his own homestead property adjacent
to a broad Florida prairie. He can only use as much material as this small parcel of
land will produce, keeping the entire operation sustainable. River-recovered and
other recycled hardwoods are incorporated into the pieces of furniture.
Palm frond furniture found its way into homes and motels around the state from
the turn of the 20th century through 1950s. The first artisans of this style are
presumed to be African Americans. The natural materials, light and airy
construction, simple curved designed elements and minimal need for upholstery
appealed to buyers and suited the climate of tropical and subtropical Florida. A
true folk art, palm furniture was not sold in stores, but was marketed off the back
of a maker's truck, traveling through neighborhoods, the back country, and seaside
Ty began making "Old Florida" palm frond furniture in the 1990s, first in the
traditional styles, and then adding new designs. Many clients and friends have
enjoyed getting involved with the "creation" process, adding to what has become
really great furniture. Just looking at this furniture makes you smile!
In addition to palm fronds, materials are used from salvaged buildings, like the
100-year old reclaimed heart of pine, Florida cypress and native cherry. Other
woods are reclaimed from North Florida rivers where old lumbering activities
abandoned submerged logs. Quality materials, simple elegance and honest design
have contributed to the success of this furniture as it moves from the porch to
designed interiors at home and at work.
More on the history of Palm Frond Furniture | click here.