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Urban Ashes® ... maximizing America's under-utilized resources and human potential.  By employing Michigan's transitional and disabled labor force to create frames and moulding ReMade in Michigan by hand, Urban Ashes® is able to help empower our disadvantaged workers while providing a collection of highly unique goods built to last generations.

The Process

Each stick of moulding is hand-selected for its character unique to urban wood as well as the story it carries from the neighborhoods from which it came. These are trees that grew on our streets, in our yards, in our parks and in our urban areas. The wood’s character is then enhanced when finished and rubbed out by-hand using
petroleum-free finishes. In this process we are reviving the hand-made art form seeming lost from our culture. To complete this Made-In-The-Midwest product, the glass, the paper insert and the backer
are also made in The Midwest.

The Start

In 2008, Furniture Designer Paul M. Hickman set out to design a product that would increase the utilization of urban salvaged wood while drawing from Michigan's transitional or disabled workforce.  The answer was right in front of him.  Since 2005, Paul had been working with his two young sons creating collaborative prints, framing them and selling them.  The frames that they used were ready-made frames but were made out of the country and from who knows what kind of wood.  It occurred to him that these very frames could be made from "urban" woods and engages this under-utilized workforce.  Out of this concept, along with the blight of the Emerald Ash Borer, a whole new line of picture frames was then added to Paul's existing furniture and Urban Ashes was formed.

The Emerald Ash Borer

Since 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer has destroyed between 50 and 100 millon Ash trees in at least 15 states and 2 Canadian provinces.  The blight threatens to destroy most of the approximately seven billion Ash trees growing throughout North America.  While the Ash tree is the impetus behind the Urban Ashes name, our frames are not limited to Ash wood alone.  We utilize a wide variety of domestic urban wood species that are often discarded as waste wood.