Living Wood, Not Wooden Living

When is a wooden table not a wooden table?

When it's a Marigold.

"Wooden Table", Peter Marigold, Libby Sellers Gallery

"Wooden Table", Peter Marigold, Libby Sellers Gallery

 

That's the designer Peter Marigold, and I was lucky enough to get an insight into his work as he spoke with us at Collect.

Marigold is a resourceful designer-maker, utilising the materials and ideas that come to him through his immediate environment. Often exploring wood in his designs he harvests the fallen branches from his neighbourhood of Hampstead Heath to use for timber. Having this local resource to hand has encouraged him to explore it's properties in many ways.

 

The textures of Peter Marigold's Wooden Tables, created using a repeated grain surface from a sample of wood.

The textures of Peter Marigold's Wooden Tables, created using a repeated grain surface from a sample of wood.

Not only does he use wood to make many of his designs, it is through experiments with this organic material  that he also brings the qualities he discovers into other very different substances.

"Characteristically, these are not straightforward forms, but instead have been created using wood rather than being made of wood. They therefore reference wood as an active verb rather than a monumental noun; the resulting forms highly animated and not ‘wooden’ at all." Libby Sellers Gallery

 

By translating what he sees in the formation and degrading of wood into something very hard and processed like metal he is breathing life into a manufactured material.

Through playing with our expectations of what materials look and feel like, it makes us want to engage with these objects, question them, pick them up, touch and interact. 

One of Marigold's "Wooden Forms" where he uses wax to capture the surface texture of wood. The fragmented, fragile looking shapes are then cast in materials like iron.

One of Marigold's "Wooden Forms" where he uses wax to capture the surface texture of wood. The fragmented, fragile looking shapes are then cast in materials like iron.

It is the natural wearing-out of the objects we use in our lives that gives him great pleasure. Every knock, scuff and dent that marks a surface is like a tree ring documenting their lifespan.

This also shows them to be of a greater quality, worth keeping even with their lived-in "damage" teaching us the patience to invest in an object and forming a bond with our environment.

"Bleed" series of locally ebonised cedar cabinets by Peter Marigold showing at Collect 2015 with Sarah Myerscough gallery.

"Bleed" series of locally ebonised cedar cabinets by Peter Marigold showing at Collect 2015 with Sarah Myerscough gallery.

 

At this year's Collect, Marigold was showing his cedar cabinets stained from the reaction with steel nails holding them together. Entitled "Bleed", the beautiful black streaks became the most prominent feature of these sturdy cabinets. 

"Man builds things up, and then nature begins a slow steady process of taking them down again. A normal response to this effect might be despair like King Canute trying to hold back the sea, but I see beauty," said Marigold.

 

A close up of the inky patterns made by the steel nails reacting with the wood in Peter Marigold's "Bleed" Cabinets

A close up of the inky patterns made by the steel nails reacting with the wood in Peter Marigold's "Bleed" Cabinets

Rather than fighting nature in preventing this unpredictable marking, these displayed the reaction of the untreated metal with the tannin in the wood showing a truth to the materials.

I loved seeing his way the designer was letting go of the piece they had made, allowing nature to take it's course to create a unique, naturally beautiful object. It reminded me of the way mascara can run down a perfectly made-up face showing an overwhelming emotion, too much sadness to mask and hide or a joy too powerful to hold inside.

For more information of Peter Marigold's projects visit his site here.

There are lots of great Artist's talks still going on at Collect on from 9th - 11th May 2015-check them out HERE

 

 

Designpanoptikum - Surrealist Museum For Industrial Objects

The truth of objects: is it weirder than science fiction?

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 Russian photographer Vlad Korneev's sculptures provide an eerie environment throughout the 10 rooms of his Designaoptikum allowing us two options: The first is as an art gallery casually soaking up the visual ensembles, the second is to use your brain by thinking and learning about the collection of objects housed within.

Some insight curiosity, some are unsettling but all have at least once provided some function. As intimidating as some of these look, there are no weapons in the museum, it is up to our own imaginations how we perceive them, and the structures Vlad has created make them unfamiliar, providing them with a new identity. He describes it as similar to Frankenstein's laboratory. To give you an idea, imagine of what kind of companions you might construct in your solitary survival of an apocalyptic event trapped inside the basement of an old department store.  

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Many of the scariest looking devices were actually designed and built to help people, from learning how to resuscitate an accident victim to actually having a machine like an iron lung to breath for you for your entire life. As Vlad had said there are no objects intended to cause pain or destruction in his museum, but the huge metal box he had as an example of the treatment for polio was made after the First World War when Germany had nothing other than weapons so an iron lung was made from submarine parts.

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During this visit to Berlin I also found myself inside the Museum of Medical History. This is not for the faint-hearted or those with a weak stomach (there were jars containing both of these) and I found myself in need of a stiff drink and some fresh air from my encounter here. There were no gimmicks or sensational presentations, just human specimens, historical facts and the real-life stories of individuals thus having a deeper effect than any Oscar nominated weepie or late night teen gore-fest. And the largest display of gallstones you will ever see.

Although unable to take photos in the Medical Museum I found the text from the introduction significant for both collections so I have included it here with  my images from the Designpanoptokum

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"Objects generate effects. They may be just standing in a room, be obstacles in the way or displayed in a showcase. Their sheer presence, their explicit 'thingness" evokes feelings in the viewer. If we want to learn more about the objects, we usually need additional information about their inventors, producers, users, applied materials, age or distribution. The stories deriving from them may be manifold.  Frequently, however these stories remain undetected or undiscovered."

 

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"Sometimes the objects fall into oblivion, lying in the dark corners of a museum's depot. The objects do not grant the curators a consultation hour. Nevertheless, we could interact with them further. They are sharp, colourful, fragile, pretty to look at, common, unique, useful, used, or unwieldy. "

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"For a long time, only the respective museum curators were interested in these stories. To follow their own research and interests they developed an individual 'thing' expertise. Other people, however, would be able to tell quite different stories. Partly because of this, more and more researchers beyond the museum world have  turned to historical objects in recent times. They ask: what is our relationship with these things? What meaning do they have in our culture?" 

 

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Here's the Designpanoptikum  Museum if you want to see it all for yourself! Torstraße 201, 10115 Berlin, Germany

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Gray Magazine

Really excited to be featured in the latest issue of Gray Magazine

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 "A reflection of the Pacific Northwest's vibrant design + architecture scene. GRAY is a print and digital magazine filled with resources, engaging features, and interviews covering architecture, landscape, interior design, industrial design, décor and fashion—all things that are imagined, made or available in the Pacific Northwest."

This issue is inspired by contrasts and duality, with the content literally halved into two sections so that in the middle you flip the mag round to read the rest!

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I've always been into turning convention on it's head, and two of my Hewn rings feature in this middle two page spread where it flips! Check it out below, a black and a white Hewn ring available at Craft & Culture or directly from me made in your size. Just email me for details on how to have your bespoke ring made to your preference! 

Here's the online version for you to read for yourself! This issue has some interesting write ups on designers with split careers, which is becoming even more common as people take a sudden change in their path or bring polar opposites together so that they feed the different needs in their life. Check out the gorgeous cutting edge objects to window shop for some inspiration!