The Artist: Ralph Garrett
Growing up in a humble Texas home filled with his grandmothers’ hand painted china, his father’s finely crafted carvings and mother’s hand stitched quilts, art and craft was no novelty to Ralph Garrett’s upbringing. Surrounded by an appreciation for the aesthetic, he exhibited a Passion for art early in his life—particularly expressed through his work with wood. Ralph pursued a variety of professions in his early years, ranging from ranch work to architecture; however, he discovered his niche crafting whimsical furniture with his cousin and mentor, artists David Marsh. As Ralph cultivated his skill as a woodworker and artist, he concurrently built a family with his wife Kim and two children, Katie and Jordan.
In 1994, on a shoestring budget and a leap of faith, Ralph launched Shoestring Creations Inc. in Grandview, Texas—a company based on Integrity of design, Passion for quality art and an element of Joy in each piece. Shoestring soon rocketed into popularity with debuts on QVC, Niche Magazine and successful showings in the nation’s most major American Craft conventions. By the early 2000’s, Shoestring’s workshop housed dozens of gifted artists and craftsmen with unparalleled production efficiency; however, Ralph began to realize that this large-scale workshop was beginning to divert from its original artistic vision.
Shoestring Creations utilizes the action of transforming “found objects” into unique art. From discovering scraps of abandoned and neglected previous art to stumbling upon remnants of trees, Ralph enjoys the idea of creating beautiful art out of materials that some would consider useless trash. The concept of Tramp Art is used to better describe this process of working. Tramp Art was an art movement found throughout the world during the 1800s where small pieces of wood, primarily from discarded cigar boxes and shipping crates, were whittled into layers of geometric shapes having the outside edges of each layer notch carved, or in the technique of a Crown of Thorns. Ralph continually derives an ample amount of inspiration from this idea and persistently constructs aesthetically appealing furniture with it in mind. Because, why not create something charming out of something previously forgotten? We here at Shoestring believe the world needs more of that.