When design pieces tell a seductive story, it arouses an interest in the author and the story of Casey Gunschel is as alluring as her works. When Gunschel’s first custom-tooled belts were noticed by a California Designer/Showroom owner, she was commissioned to craft a custom furniture piece. It was a 4x6 foot coffee table, featuring a splendidly tooled octopus. Gunschel now works exclusively on custom furnishings and wall treatments for both private collectors, hospitality, and commercial application.
After experimenting with conventional art school tutelage, and no less than at the renowned SAIC, she opted for learning by adventure by spending her formative artisan training on the road living out Samuel Johnson’s words, “The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”
Thus, set designing and building props for theaters around the US, and picking up residential decorative painting work sensitized her perception to materializing vision, and in 2005, an inspired, industrious Gunschel launched the well-received wallpaper company, Palacepapers.
The late 2000’s led her to the rural Pacific Northwest, where she sought out saddlemaker Skip Arnew as a mentor, and found herself absolutely captivated by tooling. "I had assumed that leather tooling involved only set stamping techniques and often, in cheaper mass-produced goods it is, but authentic leather tooling is hand-carved and is a revered traditional art form dating centuries back. In early America, cowboys and ranchers employed tooling for ornamentation on saddles, chaps and the like as an expression of personal style, and identification. Heirloom quality was inherent.”
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