Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Playing with Fire


So about a week ago, I told you I would let you in on those mystery process photos. The Mister and I finally have a new dining table designed by me with Ohio Design. It's been a long process mostly because of my obsessing over the details and making sure everything was just right, wood, finish, pattern no pattern... sometimes designing for yourself is the hardest thing. Don't ask me why that is. I guess if I had a wood shop studio to experiment in it wouldn't feel so out of my control. I could experiment harmlessly and then hand over the design knowing that I had worked out the quirks and figured it out. Or just build it myself. But in this case I had to hand over the experimental part to Ohio Design. Even though they offered to customize their Noi table to my specifications I knew I was pushing it a bit. I wasn't just asking for a different wood finish, or for their wood printing services or basically something they already do. I was asking for something else entirely.

It all started with the Japanese wood sculpture above. We picked it up at Zinc Details in the city years ago and I remember the owner explaining to me that there was a flaming process that brought out the grain in the wood. This was interesting to me since it was something I hadn't come across and I loved that the flame gave the wood a textural quality it hadn't had before. I began to research it a bit further and came across the Japanese tradition of fireproofing their homes by charring the exterior wood siding of their homes. Charred wood is much less likely to catch fire or be infested with insects than regular wood. The process is called shou sugi ban and lucky for me Ohio Design had already started experimenting with the process. That's what those previous photos were showing, some stools for a restaurant that had been designed and charred by Ohio Design. 

This process spoke to me to me on a couple of levels. One I hadn't seen a finish that completely transformed the wood in such a natural way. It was something different and intriguing which was actually difficult for me to suss out as I had worked at Limn and had seen nearly every finish, type of wood, material there was possible to work with in furniture and I really wanted something I hadn't seen already. It also took the preciousness out of the table by allowing for the imperfections to show through. And two, growing up there was a joke in our house that dinner wasn't done until the fire alarm went off. Mom is a self professed loather of kitchen activities, and this surely came out in her dishes. (love you Mom;) 

I really couldn't be happier with the results but I am curious what you all think as well. 



Michelle said...

I completely agree, it's so much harder to design for yourself! But this turned out beautifully, and I loved reading about the process/inspiration.

Kelly said...

Thanks Michelle;) and yea... so much more self doubt for some reason.

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