We discovered Fordite in our 24,000-square foot brick building, which was once one of the area's largest car dealerships and repair shops. Former dealerships include Garrity Motors and Al Deeby Dodge, which were both a part of Hamtramck’s Automobile Row that extended from Caniff Street up to Davison.
Photo of former car dealership Garrity Motors located at 11500 Joseph Campau, now Woodward Throwbacks’ workshop, warehouse, and showroom.
Also called Detroit Agate, Fordite was created by old automotive paint that would harden and build up in spray booths. When cut and polished, vibrant swirls of classic car colors are revealed. Modern auto body paint no longer yields Fordite, making it an industry relic and a finite resource.
When we purchased the building in 2017, we learned its history of being two former Dodge dealerships and repair shops for about 90 years, said Bo Shepherd, Head of Design, and co-founder of Woodward Throwbacks. “One of our first projects to reconfigure the space was to turn an old automotive paint bay into a spray booth for furniture, doors, and other architectural and decor pieces. We were familiar with Fordite so became curious about raised sections of the floor. It’s pretty amazing to think about each inch being made up of nearly 1,000 layers and how many car repairs went into creating it over the years. We knew we needed to do something special with the Detroit gem and are excited to be partnering with Rebel Nell, a company we admire and share many passions with, to create this collection.”
Watch Bo and Kyle cut and polish a large volcano-shaped slab of the salvaged Fordite:
“Partnering with Woodward Throwbacks, another local business that shares in a mission to operate sustainably and produce products and materials that are found or restored, is a natural collaboration for us,” said Amy Peterson, CEO, and co-founder of Rebel Nell. “We are always up for a challenge when it comes to presenting new collections to the marketplace and this was no exception in understanding how to respect and care for a material like Fordite, during the restoration and jewelry-making process was ultimately rewarding and unlike anything we’ve ever done before.”
Photo Credit: Rebel Nell. See more on the making of the collection on Rebel Nell's blog.
The Fordite Collection boasts a mix of industrial yet modern and refined pieces that are gender-neutral by design and purpose, honoring the respective aesthetics and beliefs in product neutrality held by both Rebel Nell and Woodward Throwbacks. Signature Rebel Nell pieces including Ellison Tie Bars, Bottle Stoppers, Carl Bracelets, and more, will round out this Motor City Industrial and Detroit-historian dream collection.
Watch Amy Peterson, CEO, and co-founder of Rebel Nell, share the collection with Fox 2:
The Fordite Collection is available online as well as at Rebel Nell’s two retail locations -- Downtown Detroit (1314 Holden Street) and in Novi, MI at Twelve Oaks Mall.
About Rebel Nell
Rebel Nell began in 2013 with the mission to employ women facing barriers to employment in Detroit, educate them on financial management, life wellness, and entrepreneurship, and empower them to transition to a life of independence. The brand has partnered with iconic Michigan landmarks, including Motown Museum, The Palace at Auburn Hills, Joe Louis Arena, and Michigan Central Station for truly one-of-a-kind collections made of fallen graffiti collected at each storied location. The brand has expanded nationally with partnerships in Atlanta and Chicago. For more information, to order items or gift cards, visit www.rebelnell.com or on Instagram and Facebook.
About Woodward Throwbacks
Woodward Throwbacks is a Detroit-based manufacturer of furniture and goods made from landfill-bound materials. Through artistic reimagination, we recycle salvaged and reclaimed materials into new furniture and decor statement pieces. Our design process gives new life to various materials, including wood, metals, plastics, and more. To learn more about collections, products, and design services, visit our online store and website at woodwardthrowbacks.com and follow @woodwardthrowbacks on Instagram.