View farm-inspired functional art firsthand

Roger Dinger of Reinbarnation

If you’re in the market for original, beautiful off-the-farm functional art, this weekend is your chance to visit my farm-fresh friend Roger Dinger of Reinbarnation. An artisan and all-around great guy, Roger finds new uses for old barns. He’s one of the many stops on this weekend’s annual Chatham Studio Tour in picturesque Chatham County.

His studio is usually open only by appointment, so this is a great time to view his work and see the rural surroundings that inspire it. 

Cabinet made with locally reclaimed oak and pine

Roger’s pieces, from frames and mirrors to small and large tables, are hand crafted from mostly oak and pine North Carolina barns, the majority of them coming from farms being sold off to developers. “When I first visit these abandoned buildings I take photographs, talk to the owner, explore the grounds,” Roger told me. “I get a real sense of how it was used. In some small way, I’m recycling history.” Before he sells a piece, Roger adds a tag to each item stating what county and farm the wood came from. Nice touch, Roger. (I wrote of profile of Roger for the News & Observer in 2008.)

I own two Reinbarnation mirrors, one for each bathroom, and not a day goes by that I don’t stop to appreciate them.

Tag accompanying a mirror made from an old tobacco barn in Silk Hope

While you’re in Chatham, of course visit other stops along one of the best open-studio tours in the country. Studios are open this weekend, Dec. 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a printable map and more information about the participating artists, go here. Also, brochures can be picked up at many locations in the area including The General Store cafe and Carolina Brewery (Pittsboro), Weaver Street Market and NC Craft Gallery (Carrboro), Whole Foods Market (Chapel Hill), and at any Guild artist’s studio.

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