Fire & Pine
Fire & Pine is the maker of 100% American made home décor artwork and it specializes in artistically crafted wooden maps. All the unique designs are created by Fire & Pine and include historical maps from locations around the country. Ryan Lanzel, executive vice president and creative director, shared information on the business and its offerings.
museums&MORE: How did you come up with the name Fire & Pine?
Ryan Lanzel: The process for creating our artwork is literally burning artwork into wood. When we began, we sourced a variety of species of lumber and decided eastern white pine was best suited for our process, given the species is relatively soft, has an interesting grain profile and is available somewhat locally. We wanted a name that could grow with the company when we expand our product line and a name that essentially described what we do in a creative and appealing way.
MM: How long have you been in business?
RL: Fire & Pine began in 2017 when we purchased a laser machine in order to engineer various displays for a photography company. From there we played around with some alternative uses for the laser and, after a few weeks of brainstorming and trial and error, we created a local map of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and engraved it into medium-density fibreboard (MDF). The response was tremendous and we knew immediately that we had our next big idea!
MM: What are some of your original pieces from when you first started?
RL: The first piece we ever made was the map of Hilton Head Island in MDF. From there we decided we needed a more solid substrate. We custom-coded a cartography program to create unique maps in-house from scratch, which gave us the flexibility to cover any location and aesthetic. We began with all local maps of Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort, and Savannah where we would sell them at local fairs and our own brick-and-mortar locations in the area.
MM: You create a lot of pieces using U.S. patents. Where do you get these?
RL: Published U.S. patent documents are not usually subject to copyright so the text and drawings included in the patents are typically public domain. There are a lot of good sources for patent illustrations, although we typically work through Google patents.
MM: How many patents do you have artwork for?
RL: We currently have hundreds of patent illustrations to choose from in categories ranging from automotive, bar and alcohol, music, sports and technology.
MM: What are some of your best-sellers?
RL: In the last few months we have taken our product to market in order to offer it to wholesale clients across the United States. Our best-sellers really depend on the location that is selling our artwork. Local maps sell tremendously well in their local markets and we are able to quickly create new, unique, custom maps and illustrations for our clients that are intended to sell specifically in their stores. When it comes to patents, the toilet paper patent is by far the number one seller due to its lighthearted aesthetic and the fact that it finally solves the argument of which way the toilet paper is intended to hang!
MM: How many employees do you have?
RL: Currently we staff around 40 employees working in creative, wood working, paint, lasers, distribution and sales.
MM: How often are you coming up with new pieces?
RL: We create new custom artwork eight hours a day, Monday through Friday. As Fire & Pine rapidly expanded, we were fortunate to hire a full-time designer to keep up with the demand of custom work. Doug is now our full-time artist who works directly with individual clients, as well as all of our licensees, to create one-of-a kind maps and illustrations just for them.
MM: Can you tell me about your customizable and one-of-a-kind pieces? Do those make up most of your sales?
RL: We do offer customization of existing artwork as well as completely unique pieces from the ground up! Whether it is simply taking a current map of Chicago or Pittsburgh and adding a star or heart on your home, adding a name or quote somewhere on the map, or burning your wedding vows or seating chart onto an extravagant centerpiece for an important occasion, we can make it happen.
MM: What are some of your favorite pieces?
RL: One of my favorite pieces to date was a map that we created and donated to the city of Hilton Head Island. The artwork was a gift to the city of Verona, Italy to initiate a sister city friendship pact. The artwork was flown to Italy by the Mayor of Hilton Head and hand-delivered to the city of Verona as a peace offering. The artwork depicted both cities and their respective flag and seal separated by a compass with a banner that reads “Friendship Pact, June 21, 2019.”
MM: What are your plans for the future at Fire & Pine?
RL: As Fire & Pine continues to grow, we are looking forward to offering our product to untapped markets in both the United States as well as overseas. From there we anticipate expanding not only our vast collection of maps and illustrations, but going back to the drawing board and creating a completely new line of work that differs greatly from what we currently offer to our customers in order to keep our company new and exciting.