Listening to Wood

Still working on my follow-up report on ‘takeaways’ from the 2014 COFI Convention I attended in Kelowna last week. But while many of us were listening to forest industry leaders reporting on strategies for the future, an artist back in Vancouver was listening to what wood was telling him about creatively unlocking its artistic potential. Hugo Franca says wood speaks and he listens:

“Brazilian designer and artist was doing a lot of listening to a massive 4,100 kg (9,000 lb) Douglas fir stump at Spanish Banks Friday morning. Weathered grey, the stump had a massive root that cascaded on the sand to one side. The stump was telling Franca how it wants to be carved. That’s the poetic way of describing what Franca was doing. Practically, he was looking at its form to figure out how to transform it into public furniture for the Vancouver Biennale. Over the course of the past 30 years, Franca has built an international reputation for his furniture made from burned and salvaged wood, mainly pequi, a dense, gnarled wood from the tropical rainforest of Brazil. Now in Vancouver, Franca is carving for the first time in entirely new species from the temperate rainforest of the west coast of BC. Franca said working with new woods means constant surprises. Earlier this week when he was carving in Squamish for the biennale, he was working with his assistants on another Douglas fir stump. When it was flipped over, it broke in two because of an unseen rotten section inside. He simply adapted to the new situation by turning what was going to be one piece of furniture into two. At Spanish Banks, Franca spent a good part of the morning helping his assistants flip the big Douglas fir stump so he could get a better view of its entire shape. It’s one of five stumps and logs he plans to shape into furniture.”

Admittedly most lumber traders hear less exotic messages when they listen to what piled up dimension pouring out of sawmills is saying this week. From what we can tell, the wood is mostly telling us: “Find me a truck and get me outta here. I’m needed on a jobsite somewhere outside of New York! Yesterday!“


~NAWLA Regional Meeting – Vancouver, BC~

A reminder the NAWLA Regional Meeting in Vancouver happens this Thursday, April 10th, at The Vancouver Club. Speakers include Andy Dunn (President, Vancouver Canadians Baseball), Martin Jurvasky (Sr VP Corporate Development & Strategy, Interfor), and Daryl Swetlishoff – Equity Research, Raymond James. The Planning Committee advises there are only a handful of tickets remaining. Ticket sales close tomorrow at this link.

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