It’s easy to admire the smooth brilliance of a hand-turned bowl or an inventive pattern on a hand-woven blanket. But perhaps the most special thing about a well-crafted object is what we can’t see or feel: knit into these pieces we love is a physical, considered relationship between materials and people, entailing centuries of skill that has been taught and passed down through generations.
When we started Medley, we wanted to understand how furniture was made through generations—inspired by this, we built a skilled production team with over 170 combined years of experience. Our craftspeople bring every Medley piece to life with special expertise, continuing a practice built on skill, patience, and creativity that produces long-lasting, beautiful objects.
A look at craft in America
From native traditions to Betsy Ross’ flag to our present-day DIY infatuation, craft has long been a staple of American identity. But it hasn't thrived without periods of challenge and disinterest, especially with the advent of industry.
Planned obsolescence is the creation of products that fail easily or become less desirable over time, encouraging consumers to buy new objects more often. This phenomenon appeared in the United States during the rise of mass production in the twenties and hasn’t totally ceased. For example, many manufacturers have made it increasingly difficult to repair goods like cell phones and cars that could otherwise last longer. Add to this a general decline in the quality of materials and construction techniques and an intensified drive to sell more, faster; many objects now just aren’t made to last.
It’s not so surprising, then, to find out that the average American throws away 4.6 pounds of trash every day, amounting to over 1,600 pounds of waste per person every year—almost twice the amount of the global average of waste generated per person.
Enough time and waste has accrued for consumers to think critically about these trends. At the same time, tech has enabled enterprising craftspeople to find success on platforms like Etsy, and big-box retailers are responding with sustainable product lines and small-batch offerings. Now, craftsmanship is thriving, on our mind, and present in everything from soap to jewelry to furniture.
You’ll always find unique, handcrafted details from the inside out on our products, like the perfect pinch seam on our Nein sofa or the 8-way hand-tied springs that support our Mota models. All of Medley’s furniture is handmade to order in our LA warehouse, which allows us to easily customize our work. We see each piece as a celebration of the simplicity of craft, which often comes down to one person making one thing at a time. This process is paired with our ultimate care in selecting what materials go into our products. Our goal is always to create sustainable, durable furniture that will last a lifetime, and then some.
We believe that craft’s revival is happening in part because making and using our hands is a human impulse—let’s keep exploring this, passing down knowledge, and bringing handmade objects into each others’ homes. Learn more about Medley’s commitment to craftsmanship here.