When Ed first started looking for his wedding band, he wanted something unique and meaningful, as well as eco-conscious. So when we came across Simply Wood Rings, we had to check it out! From the moment we walked into their workshop, we fell in love. Owner and artist Gustav Reyes greeted us with a big smile and helped us custom create a wedding band that was not only beautiful but incredibly meaningful. Ed’s wedding band is made from the same type of tree (Burr Oak) that he proposed to Aileen under:
For over 10 years, Simply Wood Rings has been creating unique pieces of art. From locally salvaged barn wood and bowling alley lanes to meteorites, their wedding bands will be cherished for a lifetime. And their new line of Birthwood Rings is something to see! Thank you so much for the Gustav and the entire Simply Wood Rings team for giving us a tour of their incredible workspace for our July vendor highlight!
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
I was born in Mexico and raised in the United States. My father was a carpenter, so there was wood around me all the time growing up. He also studied jewelry in his free time and would bring me to the studio in Pilsen where he would learn techniques from other jewelry designers. A lot of his work inspired me at a young age, along with the Pilsen neighborhood where my business is located today. I attended the Art Institute where I studied painting and drawing, but afterwards I worked in construction for many years. While working in construction, I decided to start learning how to do woodworking so I could start making furniture. During that time, my partner, who is now my wife, asked me to create a wooden ring for her. I told her I didn’t think I could make one without compromising the integrity of the wood, but she insisted. She came to me with ideas on how to make one, but I kept pushing the idea away. After she insisted more and more, she came up with a technique of wrapping the wood where the wood had enough integrity to be wearable. It was from her that the whole process came to be. We have now been in business for the past ten years with no looking back.
Why wooden rings?
I wanted to create an alternative to traditional rings for people. Wood is an alternative to traditional structure, large corporations, and traditional ideas of “forever.” When you wear a wooden ring, it demands your attention. You have to be mindful of the material you are wearing and it brings you into the present moment. As humans, we aren’t put on this Earth forever, and the wooden ring reminds us of our fragility and how it is important to be mindful in the present. We don’t exist in the future, we exist now, just like wood. Our business is also eco-friendly and the wood we use is all salvaged from around Chicago.
What inspires you?
I am inspired mostly by the material itself and the stories of people we work with. Wood translates well to the sentimental connections we make with our customers because wood already holds an authentic position in the world of materials. Our customers have amazing stories that we use in our rings, and each ring is completely different than any others because of that. When I started making wooden items, I made keepsake boxes for women to place sentimental items in. The connection between wood and these objects creates a story unique to each individual, and that translated into our mission with Simply Wood Rings. I am also inspired by providing the alternative to metal rings that people may have not known existed prior to me starting my business.
If you had one tip for a bride, what would it be?
Let choosing your rings be a fun experience and order them months before your special day so you don’t need to worry about it later!