Think About Tables
Artist Statement – October 2015
Think About Tables combines my vision as an artist, skills as a woodworker and passion about ecological action with the fun of encouraging others to build a table.
I make my living designing and building fine furniture and cabinetry. My specialization in the Arts and Crafts style, which evolved to affirm individual artistry and skill as industrial production advanced, is rooted in my values of creative craftsmanship.
Building stick furniture, I get to play as a folk artist.
Think About Tables began in 2014. My wife and I dug into the project of replacing the invasive honeysuckle around our home with native trees and bushes.
Bush honeysuckle (Lonicera mackii) is a serious regional problem.
It leafs out in earliest spring, shading and crowding out the native plant varieties essential to a healthy ecosystem. Bright red, sugary summer berries don’t provide the fats birds need for migration or winter survival, but hungry birds attracted to them spread the plant’s prolific seeds far and wide. With no natural competitors here, this Asian import is steadily invading urban, suburban and rural properties and decimating our natural biodiversity.
I’m committed to keeping a positive focus in dealing with environmental issues. Bush honeysuckle grows a strong, durable wood. It’s pretty easy to find the three-leg structure needed for a table in honeysuckle branching patterns.
The plant offers character in joinery that surpasses human techniques.
The approach of “harvesting” bush honeysuckle offers a constructive perspective
to motivate action.
I feel fortunate to collaborate with other resourceful harvesters that support my work with audience connections, outreach capacity and wood suppliers. The local business Lumber Logs mills wood obtained from tree-trimming companies, and sells extraordinary pieces I have used for table tops.
Environmental groups that organize honeysuckle removal events
that can offer table base stock and educational opportunities. Shaw Nature Reserve is an invaluable partner for this project.
Think About Tables transforms a serious environmental problem into a useful resource, by giving adults and children the opportunity to build a table. It’s positive, encouraging, practical and fun. It raises awareness, cultivates creativity, and affirms time-honored values of craftsmanship and use of resources at hand.
And you get a table!