IIDEX Woodshop Designer Spotlight | Heidi Earnshaw

This is the 6th in a series of 10 posts where we will be placing the spotlight on the amazing talent signed up for the IIDEX Woodshop initiative. This week: Heidi Earnshaw Design!

Heidi Earnshaw

Heidi Earnshaw Design is a studio founded by Heidi Earnshaw focused on designing and producing handcrafted wooden furniture and objects and fully-fitted spaces for private, public and corporate projects using carefully and responsibly made unique pieces.

We were fortunate to have Heidi offer some insight into IIDEX Woodshop, ash wood and some of her other interests.

ideacious: IIDEX Woodshop has a strong narrative going for it — a city and IIDEX supported initiative to use a portion of the 200,000+ ash trees the Emerald Ash Borer will bring down over the next 5 years. How do you plan to embrace this narrative through the work you submit?

Heidi Earnshaw: There is an amazing practicality to the narrative in  finding creative ways to transform the ash bore problem into a positive shared opportunity and experience for the design community, city foresters and Torontonians in general. In that same spirit,  I hope the design I submit will hold a wide appeal as a beautiful, useful and accessible object of everyday use. 

From an aesthetic perspective, many designers opt to work with rich woods like Walnut or Maple. What are your thoughts on using Ash as your primary material? Is it a challenge, does it change your process, or do you simply disagree and think Ash is amazing?

Wood types come and go in popularity.  In the 90’s cherry and maple were the favourites, now it is walnut that is most popular. As designers we need to encourage the use of wood that is responsibly harvested and grown in North America. All woods have historical uses based on their particular characteristics.  Ash, known for it’s straight, reliable grain and excellent strength to weight ratio is commonly used in sports equipment, tools handles, oars etc.  This exhibition will hopefully remind us that all wood is good, it is simply a matter of using it appropriately and highlighting the best characteristics both functionally and aesthetically.  

And finally, what’s something that you’re really into right now?

Antiques.  I can spend hours roaming around country flea markets.  They are like museums of material culture that I find endlessly inspiring.

Stay tuned for a new designer next week!


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