Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finding the Forest - Part One

One of the best things about traveling is investigating the local woodworking. While in Hawaii last week, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the "Finding the Forest" show with my friend, Kai. 

This exhibit features woods of Hawaii while showcasing the talents of 20 woodworkers. Their work explores the dwindling natural resources of local woods, a troubling fact given that much of Hawaii is covered in tropical rainforests.

The dwindling supply of wood has forced many artists to tweak their building techniques - many of the pieces in the show features veneered work, or used found materials. 

Is this the new norm in woodworking? I don't have an answer to that, but I do know that these artists were thoughtful in their use of material, savoring it for specific uses.

Shaun Fleming's untitled cabinet was stunning - and featured found and salvaged Koa and Camphor. The bookmatched doors, with live edges added a lovely organic quality to this piece. 

 As she noted - the natural edges of the base remind us of the rustic beginnings of lumber, which was left in it's slabbed state. 

 This piece truly embraced the concept of dwindling wood supplies in Hawaii, savoring small solid wood components and highlighting their beauty. Look at the grain in that front stretcher!

Peter Naramore's Monkeypod and Toon Bench utilized wood from a tree-trimmer's hoard, and his own stash of locally foraged lumber.

 The carving on the back and sides gave this an almost "lace-like" feel to it, and once again - the grain management on the front piece was incredible. 

The seat hinged up for storage within, and the contents of the stored area are visible through the branches craved into the sides.  An amazing piece!

On a lighter note, Scott Yoell chose to playfully juxtapose Koa and particleboard into his sculptural piece,  incorporating the two together.

The particleboard "drips" out of the Koa slabs; the fluidity of this piece reminded me of old Wendell Castle carvings. 

Tom Calhoun's Art Deco waterfall cabinet was gorgeous, but - and this is just a personal preference of mine - felt like it had TOO much going on in it. 

I counted eleven different woods that he used in its construction, 

and while I understand what he was trying to accomplish, it made the piece feel busy to me. I loved the simple carved pulls he made for the drawer knobs, though. 


This is only about half of the pieces I wanted to talk about, but I'll close for now and will write about the others (including my favorite piece of the show!) in my post. Stay tuned!


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