See, Saw

By Andrea Siedsma
Photos by Brevin Blach

Iowa native Joseph Bedford is bringing wood to the 'hood. Since opening his Little Italy workshop, Bedford Built, and an adjacent gallery, Coalesce, in 2004, he has been creating artistic furniture and accent pieces made from local and imported wood.

Bedford works with scraps of trees he finds on forest floors and driftwood-covered shores around the globe. One of his favorite scrap yards is Morley Field in Balboa Park, where he gathered redwood for a 20-foot wall sculpture, Muir Reflection, now on display in the University of California, San Diego's John Muir Center. He used leftovers from the piece to craft a line of multi-colored redwood stools, chairs and tables.

"When people buy them, they can get a slice of Balboa Park," says Bedford, who also salvages eucalyptus and other disease- or storm-felled trees from Morley Field.

Most of Bedford's furniture is commissioned and custom-built, incorporating an array of styles, textures and colors. Through collaboration with other artists, he merges his found, organic elements with fabricated materials including acrylic, upholstery and metals. But wooden you know it, Bedford seems to prefer what's au natural.

"To me, there is so much character in wood," he says. "I like clean lines, but I also like when wood is weathered."

Take a seat (or a table) at Bedford Built, which features a new artist every month to coincide with Little Italy's Kettner Nights gallery showcase, held the first Friday of every other month.

Bedford's pieces range from $350 to $1,000.

Bedford Built, Coalesce, 2360 India St., Little Italy, 619.564.2671, bedfordbuilt.com

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