When the doors open on this year’s Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire this Friday, Bloomfield Flats Custom Cedar Furniture will have centre stage as this year’s featured artist.
According to event organizer Janet Campbell, the Faire, now in its 17th year, has become a tradition in the Comox Valley. Each year, they select one local artisan to be the featured exhibitor.
“Bloomfield Flats Custom Cedar Furniture was selected because of the quality of workmanship, product innovation, and the fact that their furniture is not only beautiful, it stands the test of time,” explained Campbell.
“The Charles Dickens Faire exists to promote local artisans, and Bloomfield Flats Furniture is not only made in the Comox Valley, but it is also made from trees grown on Vancouver Island!”
Brian and Judy Bloomfield say they are thrilled to be recognized by the Charles Dickens Craft Faire organizers, and they are grateful for this opportunity to showcase their products. While this is their first year at this particular event, Bloomfield Flats Custom Cedar Furniture has been building a reputation for excellence for the past 30 years.
The “story” for this line of custom-crafted cedar furniture starts in 1981, when Judy brought home a couple of rickety old wooden chairs from a garage sale.
“I immediately threw one of the chairs onto our burning pile,” recalls Brian with a hearty laugh. “The other … a Cape Cod-style wooden chair … looked interesting. It became the inspiration for a pattern to construct a modified version made of Vancouver Island Western Red Cedar. Almost 30 years later, we still use that chair!”
Not only was “that chair” a welcome addition to the couple’s country acreage south of Courtenay, but it was also the catalyst that would turn Brian’s woodworking hobby into a successful part-time business.
In 1984, he began displaying an ever-expanding product line of custom cedar furniture at venues such as the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market and the Filberg Festival. In 2009, with assistance from Community Futures Strathcona, Bloomfield Flats Custom Cedar Furniture became a full-time enterprise.
The furniture is now showcased at various events on Vancouver Island throughout the year.
Ever the innovator, Brian continued to tweak the design of the Cape Cod or Eastcoast-style chair until he was 100 per cent satisfied with the finished product. Customer requests further prompted the development of his own style of seating that he labeled the Westcoast chair. It was officially launched in January 2010.
“My Westcoast chair is ergonomically designed with the seat higher off the ground, a more upright back for better lumbar support and it’s easier to get out of than the Eastcoast chair,” explains Brian. “These comfort and ease of exit features are especially appreciated by the Baby Boomer generation.”
Today, Bloomfield Flats is more than just chairs.
While the custom-crafted range of chairs remain a customer favorite, they also make loveseats, combination table/chair models, plus a variety of tables, barstools, footstools and other custom-built items upon request. Bloomfield, for example, crafted the beautiful 12-foot-long cedar dining table in the lower level of the Old House Restaurant.
Every piece of top-quality Vancouver Island Western Red Cedar in Bloomfield Flats furniture is hand-picked. Great attention to detail and a creative eye is used to arrange wood patterns and colours to add artistic flair.
“The type of cedar that we use to build our furniture is legendary for its quality,” explains Brian. “It is the same type of cedar that was used to build the totem poles that still stand in our rainforests hundreds of years after they were erected.”
“As we celebrate our 30 years of success, Judy and I extend our sincere thanks to the people of the Comox Valley … and beyond … for supporting our business,” concludes Brian. “In our throwaway society, it feels good to know that Bloomfield Flats Custom Cedar Furniture is building a product that will be serviceable for decades.”
View Bloomfield Flats Custom Cedar Furniture at the Charles Dickens Craft Faire from Nov. 11 to 13. Or call 250-338-1074 to make an appointment to visit their shop. E-mail email@example.com or visit www.BloomfieldFlats.ca.
The Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire will be held at the Florence Filberg Centre on Anderton Avenue in Courtenay. Admission is $2.
For more information on the Faire, call 250-339-9891 or visit www.dickenschristmascraftfair.com.