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Creative approach to material

by Tibor Uhrín

Stool used during milking, Dolný OhajOur ancestors, predominantly those living in rural areas utilised all opportunities nature gave them. Farmers, domestic producers, artisans working with wood often used naturally-shaped forms, slowly growing wood or roots and made variety of products for their homes, wood items and utensils we use today. Misshaped and twisty wood was used in many ways: as harnesses, wood wagons, various handles, hinges, hooks, supports, fishing tackle, gates, ploughs and sledges. Crooked grown wood (bizarre wood shapes etc.) remain in use until today, however, not the varnished pieces that damaged the value of bizarre wood shapes in past.

Production of twirling sticks of various sizes from tree branches is very popular in Slovakia. Christmas trees, mainly those from fir are used for that purpose. House craftsmen were very inventive when making stools. Makers without names must have had sense for shapes and materials when they decided to use such wood to make stools. Production of tools for artisans is a special category of bizarre tree shapes use. Cranked or bent handles and levers (for example a haptic-shaped handle for comfortable grasp of scythe shaft) were popular.

We forgot to use the special wood shapes in the last decades. Even if we no longer live in the 19th century, we may utilise them now. Our needs have changed over the time. However, we may try to re-invent them. Tools from bizarre wood shapes are nice, strong and massive. Fine wood rake is better than plastic ones. Pieces of furniture, stools and chairs from bizarre wood shapes are elegant, long-life and unique. An experienced person can easily identify a piece of wood good for a special purpose. Autumn and winter when wood stops to grow are the best seasons for searching such shapes.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 04/2007:


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