As I start my process of making my work with full logs (rather than a furniture maker starting with lumber made from those same logs), I tend to get angry messages more often because it appears that I’m “deforesting the planet”. While I know that there are several areas on our planet that are being deforested in horrific ways, that’s simply not the case where I live, and in my business.
The network I have become a part of locally has several foresters, landowners, and loggers in it. The foresters and loggers all say basically the same thing… that the forests here are growing exponentially faster than they are being harvested. That means that more trees will die and rot on the forest floor than will be harvested as an amazing natural resource. The death and decay on the forest floor are part of a healthy ecosystem. Birds, animals, bugs, and fungi (speaking of fungi. if you haven’t watched the Netflix documentary “Fantastic Fungi” it’s extremely informative and beautiful) all need that as part of their world. But… at the same time, if a forest is managed properly, it can as good or better for that ecosystem. When selective harvests happen, you remove more of the mature trees that are nearing the end of their life cycle, as well as unhealthy/undesirable trees, and open the forests canopy letting in more nutrients and water to allow the remaining trees, plants, etc. a healthier environment to thrive in. This practice also captures carbon when the harvested trees become lumber, or in my case bowls rather than rotting away.
I always do my best not only to source and purchase my materials from companies that do the right thing for forests and the environment. But I try to utilize all materials in the best way possible. The bowls I make get cored out (the inside material is scooped out in one piece, rather than getting wasted away), and that material becomes smaller bowls or bowl cores I sell to other woodturners, I cut lumber from parts of logs that don’t work for bowls to make into boards, furniture or sell to other craftsmen to make their work from. The cut-off scraps either become fuel for my workshop in the form of heat for the winter or go to the local boy scout troops for camping. While the waste turnings become compost at local farms (High acid waste turnings are great for blueberry bushes, I supply a handful of small farms with enough waste turnings to keep their blueberry bushes extremely happy. In the future, I will use that waste product as part of my own small regenerative farm.
My work is made to be naturally beautiful, sustainable, and lasting. Not only do I source my materials locally (to cut down on fossil fuel consumption), but as my work is made to last generations, there is no need to purchase the same items over and over due to poor construction, design, poor materials, or cutting corners. Not having to replace worn-out or broken items also means fewer materials going to a landfill… it also means that over the long haul, you’ll have more money in the bank because you used your spending power wisely.
When you have questions about my work or my process, I’m always happy to talk. Email or call anytime.