Old Hickory Commissions Designs from Barney Bellinger, Noted Adirondack Artisan
Barney Bellinger, the Adirondack and rustic artist who is best known for producing one-of-a-kind, meticulously crafted pieces, has been commissioned to create a line of products for the Old Hickory Furniture Company.
Bellinger has designed a table and a mirror for Old Hickory, as well as creating a painting that will be sold as signed and numbered prints for $1,229 each.
The mirror, which is crafted from barnwood and hickory and features a painted lake scene, was inspired by the design of rustic boathouses. It sells for $1,769.
Bellinger’s table, designed for a display area, is also made from aged barnwood and hickory. The table is priced at $1,229.
“Bellinger’s designs are built from organic and reclaimed materials with his whimsical take on form and function. They bridge the gap between fine art and everyday utility, incorporating bent wood, hand‐painted scenes, textured twig mosaic patterns and hickory split bark. The quality and style are consistent with the heritage and craftsmanship that have been a hallmark of Old Hickory for over 115 years,” said Bob Morrison, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Old Hickory Furniture. “We are proud to have this relationship with him.”
Bellinger’s work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Adirondack Museum and is in the permanent collections of the Orvis Company and the Smithsonian Institution.
Given that he’s such an accomplished artist, people assume that Bellinger studied painting or furniture design in graduate school or at least in college.
In fact, as he cheerfully admits, he’s entirely self-taught, an artist who learned his craft pinstriping motorcycles and painting signs.
He grew up, however, on the periphery of the Adirondack Park, and days spent in the woods with his grandfather, a onetime logger, “must have left a deep impression on me, deeper than I realized at the time,” he says.
Bellinger didn’t start making rustic furniture until the 1990s. He exhibited his first pieces at one of the Adirondack Museum’s first annual Rustic Furniture Fairs and has been making and selling one-of-a-kind pieces ever since.
“I have clients all over the world,” says Bellinger. While the popularity of the rustic style has led to a proliferation of poorly designed, poorly made pieces, the demand for furniture and furnishings that are works of art in themselves remains constant, Bellinger says.
“People gravitate toward the rustic style because it suggests a slower, quieter way of life,” he says. “It evokes nostalgia for the natural world and allows people to incorporate the outdoors into their daily lives.”
Bellinger said he was gratified by the commission from Old Hickory.
“To be able to add my aesthetic to Old Hickory’s historic legacy is nothing short of inspiring. It’s a huge challenge to design original pieces that Old Hickory customers will be proud to own and pass down as family heirlooms for years to come,” said Bellinger.
Old Hickory was founded in 1899 and is based in Shelbyville, Indiana. Its customers include rustic resorts and restaurants throughout the US. Old Hickory furniture can be found through retail stores or by visiting oldhickory.com.