- Love Wood Co.
It is fitting that Carolyn Monaghan’s Love Wood Co. would earn a readers’ choice award, since the company was born out of popular demand. Monaghan, a native of West Saugerties, grew up around lumber, helping on carpentry jobs and at the family sawmill, J. Mullen & Sons. She was working as a trained graphic artist when the wood called her home.
“I was up at my brother’s sawmill and I saw these incredibly beautiful scraps that were just going to get tossed, and I thought, ‘I could make those into neat Christmas presents for the family.’” She burned family members’ names on wood to create name plates, which were an instant hit. “People would admire them and then it was, ‘Can your sister make me one like that?’ and, well, it just started little by little like that. Now I’m at it full time.”
Monaghan has gone beyond the name plaques, using her blend of graphic arts talent and woodworking craft to make a range of decorative and useful items. “I have a little shop, mostly I make cutting boards, a few tables, and things. I’m not sure who put me in the Furniture Maker category,” she says with a laugh. “Maybe I’ll have to start making more furniture? But I can put anything you want on the right piece of wood; I’ve done silhouettes of people’s homes, their pets, whatever is meaningful to them.”
Monaghan’s work is largely Catskills-inspired—she makes her home near Platte Clove and is passionate about her territory. Her goods can be found in a few select retail outlets, as well as on her website. Her West Saugerties woodshop is open to clients who want to choose the perfect slab for their cutting board or countertop. “I love working with live-edge slabs of black walnut or spalted maple,” she says. “I don’t have an actual store, but you’re welcome to bring your idea and fall in love with your perfect piece of wood.”
As for Monaghan, she has her own love story with each piece of wood. When she came home and found her medium, life clicked into place. The family’s proud as could be. “My brother gives me pieces of black walnut for my birthday; he knows it’s the best present I could get—wood that would otherwise go to waste,” she says. “I love that I can give it renewed life.”