This is the 5th 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: Paus + Grün.
Paus + Grün Inc. are a small group of carpenters and designers who specialize in creating innovative and durable furniture from salvaged wood taken from local barns, historic buildings and about-to-be-disposed trees. Doing so, they minimize environmental impact and add depth to all their creations.
We got in touch with Paus + Grün and they had a few thoughts about the IIDEX Woodshop competition, working with ash and those pesky Emerald Ash Borers (EAB):
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?
P+G: When people see wood reclaimed from old barns or other buildings used in furniture, they understand that it is beautiful not only for it’s imperfections, patina, and history, but also because it is ethical, having come usually from a local source, being a reused material, and requiring very little in the way of additional processing beyond a bit of nail pulling and drying. By highlighting the unique beauty and versatility of Ash in our work, we hope to help raise it’s aesthetic status, making it a little more familiar and maybe even trendy in peoples minds, and hope that as awareness of the Emerald Ash Borer spreads, thanks to projects like IIDEX Woodshop, people in Toronto and elsewhere will begin to see Ash wood used around them and in locally made furniture, and know that it is an ethical, sensible choice. Like wood reclaimed from barns and buildings, utilizing the many trees brought down by the Emerald Ash Borer will on the whole prevent the cutting of healthy, living trees.
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?
For us, Ash is a welcome departure from the prettier, richer woods we see more often in woodworking and furniture design. Ash has brightness and texture that give it a crisp and interesting character. So, we like it. It is also versatile, workable and strong as heck, and our work will rely on at least a couple of those qualities. No complaints here.
And finally, what’s something that you’re really into right now?
We love working with reclaimed wood and are always glad to see it being used. As charming as the rustic look can be, we want to see the use of reclaimed wood survive the trend, and become a standard in fine, contemporary furniture-making as well as more rustic creations. We are in to anything that bridges this gap effectively. Aside from furniture, we are in to BBQ’ing straight from the parking-lot vegetable garden behind our shop, holding questionable and experimental musical jams above the shop, and getting outside as much as possible.
Stay tuned for our next IIDEX Woodshop Designer Spotlight: Brothers Dressler!