Yeah, you could buy your sweetheart a store-bought card with a poem printed on it, but think how much more permanent a sentiment could feel if it were hammered onto a piece of art furniture. Kate Grenier’s Te Amo Square (right), a handmade aluminum table with a hand-hammered stanza from poet Pablo Neruda’s “Love Sonnett XVII,” does just that. “Some people buy my tables for wedding or anniversary gifts because they’re romantic and unique,” says the Portland artist.
The 22-inch tall table is based on a design Grenier, 24, created while in high school. “I traveled in Mexico and South America, where the sacred heart symbol is an old milagro design,” she says. “In school we studied Pablo Neruda, who I just love, so I used his poem.”
Grenier, who also makes hammered mirrors, metal clocks with bottle-cap numbers and artsy bottle-cap magnets, designs each piece on her computer. “I first design each piece on the computer, working with my past designs, experiences and findings to create a blueprint,” she says. “I especially love working on custom pieces with clients—to compose a piece that will be aesthetically pleasing as well as have an intimate feeling to the buyer because they helped design the piece using their favorite symbols, words and quotes.”
Grenier, who began building things as a child on her parents’ llama farm in Montana, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UCLA. “I love the look of old, industrial metal,” she says. “In my pieces, I try to make that industrial look more contemporary and fun.” Te Amo Square costs $280. Grenier’s clocks cost $175; her mirrors cost from $165 to $295.