These days, as spring has finally decided to knock on our doorstep and flowers of all colors and shapes are spectacularly commencing their bloom en masse, I, for the first time, was able to see the emerging graphic layout of my upcoming book. After months of negotiating words, illustrating individual drawings, photographing, and collecting pictures from near and far, I am able to see how this book which I named Working Reclaimed Wood – A Guide for Woodworkers, Makers and Designers is quickly approaching the printing press.
The gestalt of putting a manuscript together is complex. It involves a numerous people, time, perseverance, and the strenuous work of boiling down information. One of the hardest tasks in creating an art/craft book, is choosing the images. The process of selecting the best images to enter the book is much like judging a beauty pageant since the author and the editor need to choose the Best in Show from many excellent candidates. According to my book’s editor, A.J. Hamler, I had in my A-list of runners up around two thousand images, so of course we couldn’t put them all in.
One bounty of images that I had to narrow down into only two photos, was the story of a Turkish woodworker named Mustafa Gök. Mr. Gök reclaims abandoned logs, limbs and other irregular timber from the dump and the side of the road, and then turns them into great pieces of furniture. All the trees and logs that he saves were discarded by developers, farmers or homeowners and could not be utilized by the standard lumber industry. Most of these logs are small in size, partially hollowed out by decay, twisted, deformed, or suffer from complications that make them undesirable by the standard woodworker, and render them a non-lucrative commodity. However, for Mr. Gok, they provide a splendid canvas to draw upon.
Mr. Gök examines them and utilizes them to the best of their potential. Some are resawn into unique shaped planks that he later incorporates into furniture, whereas others – short logs – are used in their entirety, flanked or held together by a transparent resin cast. The reclaimed/resin duo allows us to appreciate both the raw organic properties of the tree, side by side with the modern translucent material, which on top of complementing the overall shape, provides a structural-functional counterbalance.
Thankfully I have this blog, and can provide Mustafa’s talents a broader stage. Below, you can see some of the images that he took. They depict the reclaimed material that he uses, and the process that he deploys to achieve his artistic vision.
If you like to learn more about casting and incorporating resin in tandem with natural edge wood, you have to watch the well made how-to video produced by a British company that specializes in epoxies.
– Yoav Liberman