Photo © Carla Thorn
Name of Person: Keith & Carla Thorn
Redbud, a family owned and operated business, is dedicated to creating artistic wood pieces that reflect their customer's personal style. Established in 1983, Redbud has built numerous custom homes in the Kern River Valley. Unable to find interior and exterior doors that met the construction standards, and complimented the theme and atmosphere of their homes, they designed a line of solid wood mosaic doors. Redbud also creates artistic wood products such as bowls, boxes and fine cabinetry. What sets them apart is that they construct many of their pieces from reclaimed wood sources such as construction pallets or wood otherwise headed to landfills.
Redbud's founders have long been committed to the preservation of our planet's environment. Each year they plant several varieties of trees that they then donate to those with landscaping needs. Their hope is that these living gifts will help promote awareness of the need to continually replenish the land with greenery, shade, mulch and beauty.
Their commitment to the sustainability of the forests has encouraged them to purchase what lumber they do need from suppliers who share the same values and have pledged their responsibility to future generations.
For nearly thirty years, using their artistic style Redbud has provided custom wood working in historic homes of Kernville. Stained glass art, mosaic wood pieces and fine cabinetry are all combined in their projects to help tell a story about a historic building, person or event.
One such project was Sierra Gateway Cottages, a vacation rental property that consists of four old Kernville homes that had been moved form the lake bottom when Isabella Dam was constructed. The renovation included custom wood mosaic doors depicting scenes of wildlife and sequoia trees. Wood trim encasing arched entries have been designed with wood burnings of local historic events.
Redbud takes their customers ideas and turns them into one of a kind artistic pieces. The late John E. McNally, a pioneer of the Kern River Valley, had a stained glass window constucted for his home in Fairview that shows a cowboy riding into the mountains titled "Going Home."
Murl Fast of Soda Springs had Redbud create a custom entry complete with side panels of stained glass in Indian patterns. Two large wood wagon wheels from old Kernville were reworked and stained glass was placed between each spoke creating a kaleidoscope of color above the massive gathering room.
Sixteen stained glass windows were built in 2003 through 2005 for the Shepard of the HIlls Lutheran Church in Lake Isabella. Each window was donated by a church family and designs were constructed to portray events within the Lutheran religion. They are still there today. Redbud worked closely with the board of directors making sure each window was meeting the requirements and design criteria of the church.
Most of Redbud's work within the Kern River Valley portrays local landscape and western culture and style. Currently their artwork is featured in The Stone's Throw Gallery located in Kernville. They showcase wood boxes of different shapes, sizes and types of reclaimed woods. Many of their reclaimed woods have been salvaged from remodel jobs of old Kernville homes. Bowls turned on a wood lathe are very popular among tourists making their way through the shops as they visit the Kern River Valley. Redbud takes pride in knowing that their little pieces of history end up in homes across the nation as well as other parts of the world!