MOONWOOD PRESS: PORTLAND MERCURY

Posted BY FRANCES MAY ON December 18th, 2008

Another brave new local venture was unveiled over the weekend: Moonwoods handcrafted eye wear had a quiet launch at Frances May (1013 SW Washington) on Saturday, just before the snow began to fall. A collaboration between Justin Wayland, Danielle Higgins, and Matthew Hamilton, the Moonwoods line consists of beautiful, elegantly carved wooden eyeglass frames and jewelry, including softer (but still killer) wooden iterations on brass knuckles, which make use of the scrap material cut out for the eyewear frames.

The project began when Wayland, who is nearly blind, broke his glasses. Coupling his need for replacements with a desire to do so in an artful and environmentally sensitive way, he threw himself into researching woodworking, ethical harvesting practices, and running a green business. He teamed up with Higgins, who specializes in the shaping and finishing work, as well as designing some of the frames, and the two went into business together, tapping Hamilton—who has an arts background that includes constructing wooden surfboards in Southern California—for his artistic input and technical expertise. “Matthew developed our brass hinge system,” says Higgins. “He is also the master of the scroll saw, one of our most important tools.”

Each pair of Moonwoods eyeglasses is customized to the individual through measurements or photographs, and clients may also specify the type of wood and hinge they prefer. The company will also duplicate the shape of a favorite pair of specs (they’ll do sunglasses too), and in two to four weeks, depending on the amount of detail involved, a pair of one-of-a-kind eyeglasses made conscientiously without harsh chemicals out of mill ends that would otherwise be discarded, is yours.

“We chose wood for its unmatched beauty and versatility,” says Higgins. “Also, because of the nature of the material, no two pairs will ever be identical. There is a lot to say about something truly unique and individual in this time of outsourcing and mass production. Eyeglasses are your most prominent accessory, and really make a statement—we want that statement to have true value beyond fashionable trends and material conveniences.” Contact Moodwoods via email (moodwoods@gmail.com) or telephone (984-0183) for inquiries, and read more about what’s in store for Nationale and Moodwoods at mod.portlandmercury.com.

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