You are always home with the Bearwood Company, located in Hurricane, West Virginia. Owned and operated by Matt Snyder (pictured above), this small business makes furniture, lighting, accessories, and rustic states out of reclaimed wood. They don’t use factory sprayers or fancy automated whirling applicators. Everything they make is made the old fashioned way, a rag and some oil, wax, and whatever type of finish their piece calls for.
Matt and his team make armoires, trasteros, small cabinets, tables, chairs, benches, mirrors, wall décor, mantels. They also make wood beam chandeliers, pendant lights, and reclaimed wood tea light candle runners. All of these aside, they are most known for their rustic states. While partial to West Virginia, they can make whatever rustic state your heart desires. Everything Matt and his team make is handmade and one-of-a-kind. Bearwood is this month’s WV artist “company” on display. Get to know Matt and what inspires him with our Q&A:
1. How do you describe your palette?
We use locally reclaimed wood to create pieces that will last generations. A lot of old barns, homes or buildings are destined for the landfill or simply burned down to make way for the future. We try to salvage what we can before that happens.
We source materials from people like you. We meet with the owners so we know where the wood comes from. Knowing that also offers us the opportunity to know the history of the wood, which we can then pass on to our customers.
We also get a lot of our materials from the local Habitat for Humanity, which is great because your purchase supports an awesome cause.
2. What’s your greatest accomplishment?
I took a big risk by quitting a perfectly good paying job to do this. I was the News Director for two local TV stations. It was both demanding and stressful at times, but it also paid the bills. Leaving that wasn’t easy. My wife and I slowly built the business as a side hustle. Eventually we both knew when it was time to make the jump. It was certainly a decision we made together; it wouldn’t have worked otherwise.
3. What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?
If I’m faced with a challenge I just realize that it takes hard work to succeed and put my head down and grind through it.
4. How do you find your inspiration?
Using reclaimed wood is all about letting the material retain its story and character. You don’t want to erase the features that only time can create. In fact, you want to call attention to it. It’s the imperfections that give a piece its character. You won’t find many straight lines or piano finishes in our shop. Wood is by nature imperfect. It likes to twist, bind, swell, shrink and even split. We embrace these imperfect aspects of old wood and work to retain its character and create a functional piece of furniture.
5. What advice do you have for other artists?
If you believe in what you are doing stick with it and stay true to your original inspirations. Hard work pays off.
Next time you are looking to add a meaningful addition in your home, think local, think Bearwood! They are located at 2755 Main Street in Hurricane, WV. You can also find them at BearWoodCompany.com. And they are very active on Instagram, facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
– HashtagWV #86. February 2017.
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.