10490 is part of Design TO 2021. Going into its 11th year, the distanced and digital DesignTO Festival transforms Toronto into a hub for creativity, taking art and design out of the studio and into the urban sphere, forming Toronto’s design week, January 22-31, 2021.
The works began with harvesting wood from my family’s property in London, Ontario. I participated in the process of transforming the trees into lumber: understanding the landscapes they came from, milling the logs, and watching the effect of drying as the wood transforms. The ash was felled due to an infestation of emerald ash borer. The maple, standing dead in the forest for many years, was cleared to make room for the saplings around it. The walnut was cut down many years ago after it was struck by lightning.
With each cut into the trunk the tree becomes more abstract. The cut reveals the lines of its grain, which refer to the history of its growth while simultaneously suggesting a reaction to my tools. Each of these trees could have been a home for a bird or shade for a picnic. Cut it into boards it can become a seat. Carve into its surfaces and it becomes something else. Grind it into a pulp and it is something else again. With each operation perspective changes, and the tree becomes another, though its properties still refer to its potential and to its past.
For the past year I have made a seat every two to four weeks. These were the ones that made it. The series of seats reflect a learning process, an embodied knowledge that develops when engaging with material. Each object speaks of the time and place in which it was made and embodies the vitality of the trees that made them.