Storm Tossed Wood Inspires Furniture and Sculpture

kingsburychairFor Cynthia Kingsbury, creating furniture in Japan is very much influenced by the art of ikebana. Searching through driftwood from Yoshino River on the western coast of Japan, the artist lets the line and character of the material speak to her in order to understand how to use it in her furniture designs. Asymmetry is an important component of ikebana and the driftwood material most definitely meets that description. Working for the past three years in the village of Shibuno-cho, Kingsbury calls her enterprise Found Wood. When she lived and worked in California, the wood source was bush maple cuttings and then scavenged wood from Golden Gate Park. Her rustic furniture designs rely on the original tree’s shape and flow to bring out its basic expression. She credits her background in Japanese flower arrangement for the successful integration of ikebana tenets into her furniture.

janschhorsesAlso in the West country, but in this case the West of England, Heather Jansch finds her love of horses is the primary inspiration for her impressive full size driftwood sculptures. Scouring the West coast after storms and high tides, Jansch hauls back her material by the truckload. She formerly worked with copper wire but then was drawn to the natural shapes of driftwood. Her life-size pieces have metal frames so that they can be craned and self-supporting. Jansch also converts some of the sculptures into bronze castings. A horse lover since she read Black Beauty, she owns a black Arabian mare and a pony companion. From a 7 foot long crocodile named Jojo and Swanky the Swordfish, to hearts, lamps and mirrors, it all started with a driftwood Christmas tree made for a shop display. Now her art is commissioned by designers from London and New York to Grenada.

Karen Miller kootenaybsktruns her own company Devon Driftwood Designs from Brixham in South Devon, England. From a 7 foot long crocodile named Jojo and Swanky the swordfish, to hearts, lamps and mirrors, Miller creates beautiful organic sculptures from driftwood. It all started when she created a Christmas tree made of driftwood for a shop display. Her work has been commissioned by designers in London, New York and Grenada, and given her location on the English coast, many pieces are nautically themed.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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