Jen Gardner’s rustic farmhouse furnishings are built to last, to reduce waste, to be functional and are produced sustainably.
Pallet wood and reclaimed timber are among Jen’s signature materials
Based in Exeter, in the United Kingdom, Jen Gardner is passionate about living as sustainably as she can. She loves wildlife and believes in protecting our fragile ecosystems. She says she puts these values into her work as much as possible. All the wood she uses and furniture she upcycles was otherwise destined to end up in landfill, be burned or, at the very best, turned to wood pulp.
How the idea of ‘Forget Me Knot’ was born
On Forget-Me-Not’s Facebook page, Jen tells the story of how it all began:
Well, it all started with some pallets left in the garden of the property we now rent; the landlord was going to dispose of them but I was already scoping them out to make a compost heap with. Which is what I did.
In the shed we inherited as part of the property, was a slightly rusty shelving unit that was always getting in the way and a bread bin – yes, a bread bin in the shed! And along side the shed were some left over 3 by 3 (inches) pieces that had been used as beams to replace the kitchen ceiling. It just so happened that I needed a bookcase and bread bin and had already started to think about making my own bed. The shelves were cleaned and sanded, where needed, and then coated with some black board paint I already had. The bread bin had much the same treatment but linseed oil, instead of paint, was used. Then, with the wood, I started on the bed!
Things just went on and on from there. I realised I really didn’t need to buy any of the furniture we needed; I hated the idea of spending cash on something new, lacking in character (to fit the budget anyway), and churned out by a factory. I looked in charity shops, recycling centres and on internet freebie sites but everything was either expensive (especially after delivery) or ugly, or both!
I relished the challenge of making do with what I had, or could find, and loved the fact I would be reusing and recycling. I hate letting things go to waste and I hate the amount of ‘stuff’ going to landfill, or worse, littering the planet.
Source & Main Photo: Facebook/UKForgetMeKnot
"I decided I’d like to take part in a fair and began making small rustic trinket boxes, letter stands, planters etc to fill the stall. This got me thinking about making furniture, not just for our home but other peoples too. I had secretly hoped a friend would require a blanket box for their newish home and then, at the fair without any prompting, she said she had been looking everywhere for a decent one and so I accepted the challenge."
Since then, the list of commissions has been getting longer and include items such as: a bookshelf unit, card display stand, bedside tables, wedding card boxes, coffee tables, vegetable baskets, shelving and clothing ladders.
Jen says "I really enjoy making these things and using creativity to make each piece individual. No two items are the same and I don’t work to patterns. Things evolve as I go along and, so far, I have had great reactions from people buying my work. I don’t have a catalogue of pieces for sale, I make to order and prices vary depending on the size and difficulty."
While Forget-Me-Knot may not at present have a website, you can see more of Jen’s creations at their Etsy shop, by simply clicking HERE.
Watch below a typical day in the life of Forget Me Knot…
Be like Jen: 50 creative ways to repurpose things
If you’re looking for a little inspiration or a new DIY project, here are 50 creative ways to repurpose, re-use and upcycle your old stuff.