I have always admired and been delighted by people who try with imagination and creativity to provide a second life to things, after their mission or natural role has ended. Through this, the works by Olga Oreshyna or Richel Vincent attracted me, both valuing pieces of wood that seemed to have their “life” ended. Today, I am going to present you a young American, Greg Klassen, furniture designer and skilled timber processor that tries to give another life to trees whose only destination after death seems to be the fire, as he says. “As an artist who works in wood, sometimes I get to give new life to dying trees. Many of the trees I use are on their way to being chopped up for firewood because they are hollow on the inside and decaying. I love this stuff. For me it’s all about finding inspiration in what the tree gives me and making that important to the design. It’s not about what I’ve done to it – it’s about accepting flaws and giving something new life. And nothing could be cooler than that”.
At the recent Smithsonian Craft Show, Greg Klassen released the River Collection – a collection of supplies in which the hand cut glass combines with the raw natural edges of some wooden boards gathered sustainably. His models of furniture use only three elements – wood, glass and steel. Creatively integrating glass next to timber, Greg Klassen symbolically offers us a piece of nature, through the image of a river or a lake. Completely handcrafted, the pieces of furniture from the River Collection, exceed the limited frame of a pragmatic functionality and stimulate you in wistful and spiritual experiences, providing in the same time respect to the nature.
“I create – I do not produce. I create because I love to. It’s so much fun and a pleasure to go to work. My pieces are handmade, in the truest sense of the word. I make one piece at a time and give it my full attention, starting with a tree and ending up with functional art. I love the idea of taking a discarded tree and giving in new life. I think the natural world is beautiful, and I love what I do”.