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Northshore Home Summer 2018

Northshore Home magazine highlights the best in architectural design, new construction and renovations, interiors, and landscape design.

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Page 97 of 131

96 November 2012 96 SUMMER 2018 ings crafted from a variety of natural, highly flexible vines such as rattan, cane, reed, willow, and other dried grasses. Since then, meanings have blurred. Though wicker endures in everyday usage, it actually refers to a style of weave; rattan is a material. In the New World, wicker's history is rooted in a North Shore community. Cyrus Wakefield was a young Boston grocer in 1844 who had a better idea for the bundles of rattan he saw abandoned on seaport docks, used originally as packing material in ships to keep cargo from shifting during long voyages from Asia. His keen imagination saw potential in the refuse, and he took a bundle home and experimented, wrapping strands around a chair frame. Gradually, he worked with other craftsmen, constructing crude chairs and tables, and he also became a jobber of rattan, supplying furniture makers with repurposed reeds. Through savvy specula- tion he cornered the rattan market in America and prospered in the monopoly he created. Eventually he left the grocery business to his brother to work full-time on his smart idea. Nancy Bertrand, president of the Wakefield Historical Society and a local antique dealer, says, "Cyrus Wakefield and the wicker industry came along at just the right time, tapping into the Japon- ism movement that was sweeping the country." Wicker furniture designers found inspiration in the exotic and novel designs. "That kind of style was really welcome," she adds. Inspire 163 main street, essex ma 01929 978.768.6045 | AN ECLECTIC MIX FEATURING SOME OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS, FROM CIRCA 1000 A.D. TO 1950. Open 7 days a week In the 19th century, wicker was used for everything from baby strollers to wheelchairs to picture frames.

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