Women of Woodworking – Lynette Breton, Harpswell, ME // Part I

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Lynette Breton’s favorite woodworking tool is the flat steel cabinet scraper. Much like her preferred implement, she has a knack for taking seemingly unassuming materials and making objects that really shine in style, craftsmanship and provenance.

Lynette’s woodworking career began in 1974 in San Francisco, through a government-funded CETA program, Women in Apprenticeship.

“As a young designer with few noted female role models, I was always seeking to break away from the more traditional, somewhat patriarchal forms and styles and somehow find my own voice in it all. Some of the favorite makers that inspired me early on were Wharton Esherick and Judy McKie because their work was so sculptural, fluid and non-rectilinear, the way nature designs herself.”

Lynette feels that nature, story and symbolism seem to all find a place in her work. But sometimes, she does have to compromise between her personal voice, which is figurative with feminist and spiritual influences, and the needs of her clients, especially as she finds herself working with historic homes and styles.

After years of making and working alone, Lynette has scaled down her works and found a passion in creating her Heirloom Flower Presses. A small wooden tool to preserve nature, Lynette handcrafts each press in hopes the objects “inspire others to be creative.” Every press is made with historic and reclaimed wood, preserved for a fine and familiar purpose of perpetuating memories, nature and history.

Her most storied flower press would be the one made of ancient bog oak from Estonia, estimated to have fallen possibly 1,300 years ago. The piece is brimming with folklore as it has age, and the story of Lynette’s Ancient Bog Oak Flower Press will be shared with Women of Woodworking readers as a bonus feature next month. Many thanks to Lynette who has been so kind as to share the piece’s incredible story with this project.

In other recent works, Lynette has been working on an arts and crafts-inspired bench fitted into a turret of a historic residential renovation. The piece is large and will also have lidded seats with storage underneath. She describes the piece as “About as non-rectilinear as they come.”

Don’t miss next month’s feature on the Ancient Bog Oak Flower Press. In the meantime, to get in touch with Lynette or view more of her work:

IG: @lynettebretondesign
FB: Lynette Breton Design
W: lynettebretondesign.com

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