The spring 2012 "Art of Wood" was a semester long celebration of the cultural and aesthetic values of forests and wood products. The events were made possible by a generous grant from the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation to the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry. Numerous craftspeople, artisans and forest owners who work in or around New England and beyond were invited to share their work and insights. The series brought together students from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the School of Architecture and the School of Art. An estimated 120 students participated in one or more of the events. From wood anatomists, to furniture makers, to architects—all of the guest presenters inspired participants from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests to use and enjoy wood in new and beautiful ways.
Jan 14 Berkshire Wood Products Tour
Feb 10 The Art of Wood TGIF Kickoff
Feb 9 & 10 The Art of Wood Anatomy: Dick Jagels, University of Maine
Feb 17 The Art of Wood Furniture: Anders Hilerman – A Focus on IKEA
Feb 21 The Art of Wood Furniture: Yale Art Gallery Furniture Study Visit
Feb 22 Wood Artists Dan Ladd and Lydia Nettler Reception & Talk
Mar 1 The Art of Wood Furniture: Lecture by Patricia Kane, Curator, Yale Art Gallery
Mar 26 The Art of Wood Architecture: Visiting Architects Michael Green and Andrew Waugh
Mar 28 The Art of Wood Management: Tom Tidwell Chief, US Forest Service
Apr 17 Artist Sandy Walker Exhibit and Talk
Apr 30 USFS Forest Products Lab Study Tour
Ongoing Kroon Trees: Interactive Sculpture and Art Exhibit
|Berkshire Wood Products owner Alan Zablonski discusses his inventory with FES students Nara Lee, Kevin Kromash, Sumana Serchan and Shane Hetzler.|
On Saturday, January 14th, a group of 16 F&ES students took a field tour to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts to visit 3 different specialty wood products businesses. Students began the morning at Berkshire Products in Sheffield where owner Alan Zablonski, presented his collection of unique slabs and burls from all over the world. Zablonski shared his insights on wheeling and dealing in the niche markets of high-end furniture makers and dealing with rocks embedded in massive root burls.
|Chest built by Keith Sargent Cornell of Keith Sargent Cornell Fine Furniture,using verneers from Berkshire Veneer.|
Students then went to Great Barrington to visit Ben Barrett, President of Berkshire Veneer. Berkshire Veneer sells beautiful veneer to architectural design firms and high-end craftspeople. Ben gave a presentation on the veneer industry and discussed how he does business in the specialty markets that characterize his business.
|Lastly, students visited Francis Morris, violinmaker seen working on one of his violins. Trained in Germany, Francis has been making and restoring violins, violas and cellos in his workshop for 27 years. He showed students a violin in progress and discussed the wonderful work he does restoring old instruments. Students learned firsthand about specialty wood products and the niche markets they occupy.|
The “Thank God I’m A Forester” (TGIF) event is a weekly, informal gathering of Forestry students, faculty and staff. The Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry teamed up with the Forestry Club to host an Art of Wood themed TGIF, raising awareness about the event series and about the Institute. The TGIF featured a performance by “resourcerer” and magician, CJ May (MEM’89), and the local bluegrass band, The New Haven County Killers. The TGIF event was an excellent, informal venue where students began discussions about the value and uses of wood, all while surrounded by the beautiful wood interior of Kroon Hall.
FES students relax at a weekly Friday evening get-together at the top floor of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies' new home building, Kroon Hall, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified building. Half of the sustainably harvested interior red oak paneling came from Yale's own Yale-Myers Forest.
Part 1: Dinner with a Wood Anatomist: Thursday, February 9th
|Students enjoy an informal dinner with wood anatomist and forest biologist, Dr. Richard Jagels in FES' Marsh Hall.|
Twelve students had dinner with University of Maine’s renowned wood anatomist and forest biologist, Dr. Richard Jagels. The discussion was framed around the critical and timely question of whether we should care about having tall tree forests. The group discussed the intrinsic factors – anatomy, biomechanics, stand sociology – that allow trees to grow very tall, as well as the environmental conditions that favor maximum tree height. The group also considered some of the climate change implications for tall tree forests. Dr. Jagels discussed how he came to be a wood anatomist and shared insights into ‘staying true to your dreams’ – advice that will undoubtedly prove relevant to all students trying to establish natural resource careers amidst this era of such economic uncertainty.
Part 2. Wood 101 Workshop: Friday, February 10th
Dr. Jagels taught an introductory wood anatomy and identification workshop on February 10, 2012. The workshop, atteneded by 24 students, covered the basic structure of wood, from the trunk down to xylem, phloem, and vascular cambium. Dr. Jagels explained how growth conditions can influence wood properties such as density, ease of machining, and chemical components creating the decay resistance prized in some tropical timbers such as teak. The workshop included examination and discussion of various wood samples, including well-crafted and poorly designed baseball bats, and samples of ring-porous and diffuse-porous woods.
About Richard Jagels: Richard Jagels has been a professor of forest biology at the University of Maine for more than 25 years. He holds a B.S. in wood science and an M.S. in forest pathology from SUNY-Syracuse, and a Ph.D. in plant structure/function from the University of Illinois. Dick is a wood-technology columnist for WoodenBoat magazine and has published more than 250 research and technical papers.
Approximately 15 students, staff and faculty met via webinar with Anders Hildeman, Forestry Manager for IKEA of Sweden. He discussed how IKEA sources its wood products, and their work to support sustainable forestry worldwide. Large scale furniture manufacturers face several challenges including the long term availability of wood, and increased pressure on forest resources due to the development of wood-based biofuels. Anders also discussed recent legislation on the importation and handling of illegally harvested wood and how this affects trade and IKEA specifically. The discussion focused on the following topics: 1) IKEA's sourcing of forest products, 2) Market shifts and wood supply and 3) Wood quality.
About Anders Hilderman: Anders Hildeman is a Swedish national, a forester by training and has more than 25 years experience of practical forest management, technological development and communication on forestry related issues. He works as Global Forestry Manager of IKEA of Sweden and is responsible for supporting IKEA's business with the objective to ensure that the wood used in IKEA products complies with IKEA's Forestry Policy.February 21 The Art of Wood Furniture: Yale Art Gallery Furniture Study Visit
|The Furniture Study, Yale University Art Gallery|
The Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, John Stuart Gordon, led a group of students through the Study’s collection of beautiful pieces of furniture and wooden objects. The Furniture Study is a working library of approximately one thousand examples of furniture and wooden objects— American-made and made for the American market—ranging in date from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. Chests, tables, chairs, desks, clocks, sideboards, wood turnings, fireplace equipment, and looking glasses are arranged in approximate chronological order by form, allowing for an easy comparison of objects and craft practices.
About John Stuart Gordon: John Stuart Gordon, the Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, first encountered material culture at Vassar College. He received a M.A. from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture and is writing his dissertation for Boston University on designer Lurelle Guild. His specialty is American design from the late nineteenth through twenty-first centuries. He supervises Furniture Study, the Gallery’s expansive study collection of American furniture and wooden objects.
|The Arts and Media Student Interest Group teamed up with the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry to host artists Dan Ladd and Lydia Nettler. Dan Ladd refers to his work as botanical architecture and tree sculpture. Ladd spoke about his 30-years of experience grafting living trees into architectural and geometric forms. Since a young age, he had been intrigued by trees that grow into each other, into fences, posts, and other man-made and natural objects. Since his first experiments of grafting metal, glass, and china into trees in 1977, he has been planting trees for the purpose of grafting. During his talk he presented a history of tree grafting including ancient paintings, civil engineering plans for bridges and buildings made of living trees, and photographs of grafted-tree sculpture gardens. While trees often grow into objects and into each other quite naturally, audiences react differently to Ladd’s work, from finding an element of the grotesque in it, to admitting the ingenuity, patience, and artistic vision that he exercises with each project. Ladd’s work is included in collections of the University of California San Diego Gallery of Art; the City of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon; DeCordova Museum; and Dana Museum and Sculpture Grounds, among others.||
Collage of images by Dan Ladd displayed in Kroon Hall.
|Lydia Nettler's painting Gianicolo.||A reception on the 3rd floor of Kroon Hall featured photographic prints of Dan Ladd’s work and photographs of installation art by Lydia Nettler, a New England artist who creates charcoal drawings and installations, oil paintings, and public art, such as the oil painting at left. Nettler has exhibited her charcoals and oil paintings widely in New England. She is committed to exhibiting art in both traditional and non-traditional environments to involve the widest possible audience in the creative experience.|
Chest displaying the distinctive features of the 18th century Rhode Island style of furniture making.
The Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry holds a series of weekly informal "lunch talks", on subjects relating to forests, forestry and wood products in the broadest sense of the terms. This spring, in conjunction with The Art of Wood series invited as a speaker Patricia Kane, Ph.D., the Friends of American Arts Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery.
Among her research interests, Dr. Kane has since 2002 been project director for the Rhode Island Furniture Archive at the Yale University Art Gallery, a study that documents furniture and furniture making in Rhode Island from the time of the first European colonization in 1636 through the early nineteenth century. Bringing together records of surviving furniture, the history of the individuals who owned it, and known furniture makers, this project aims to provide a complete account of the specific culture, local variations, and artistic practices surrounding the first two centuries of furniture making in Rhode Island.
Dr. Kane spoke on the 18th century furniture and furniture-makers of Newport, Providence, and smaller centers, such as Warren, Rhode Island, noting the distinctive stylistic details of the Rhode Island furniture makers, and their use of exotic and local woods in work such as the chest displayed above.
|Dr. Kane displaying the Yale Foresters cap awarded to YFF lunch series speakers.|
About Patricia Kane: Patricia Kane received an M.A. from the University of Delaware in the Winterthur program in Early American Culture and a Ph.D. from Yale University. She has multiple publications on the subject of historical American decorative arts, including the books The American Clock, 1725-1865; 300 Years of American Seating Furniture: Chairs and Beds from the Mabel Brady Garvan and other Collections at Yale University; and Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers. In 1998 The Decorative Arts Society awarded the latter publication the Charles F. Montgomery Prize for the year’s most distinguished contribution to the study of American decorative arts. In 1996 Nancy and Henry Bartels established the Patricia E. Kane Scholar of American Decorative Arts Award to Yale juniors or seniors who demonstrate superior performance in their respective fields, to participate in internships to further their study of American art.
Part 1: Roundtable
|The nine-storey high-rise Stadthaus in London, the world's largest (so far) timber residential building, designed by the architectural firm Waugh Thistleton|
This event brought together architects, foresters, scientists and students (from both the Forestry School and School of Architecture) to discuss the future of wood architecture and design. The discussion focused on the following topics: 1) What do architects need to know about growing trees? 2) About sustainability? 3) What do foresters/forest managers need to know about managing for structural building markets? 4) What do foresters/forest managers need to know about managing for high value architectural wood markets?
The speakers included architects Andrew Waugh, whose firm Waugh Thistleton designed the world's largest (so far) timber residential building in the world, the nine-storey high-rise Stadthaus, in London, providing twenty-nine apartments, designed, seen at right, and Michael Green, whose 30-story wood skyscraper envisioned for downtown Vancouver is shown below.
Part 2: Public Lecture
|The 30-story wood skyscraper envisioned by architect Michael Green for downtown Vancouver.|
After the roundtable discussion, Michael Green and Andrew Waugh delivered a public lecture on their work in wood design innovation. The lecture was attended by students, faculty and staff members from different schools on campus (including the School of Architecture) and by members of the public. Andrew Waugh talked about Waugh Thistleton’s 9 storey building in London made from cross-laminated timber (CLT). Waugh and Green also talked about their new project: Finding the Forest Through the Trees (FFTT). The FFTT project is an innovative, open source plan for building tall wood buildings through a “strong column-weak beam” balloon-frame approach that uses large format mass timber panels for vertical structure. The public talk was followed by a wine and cheese reception.
The full lecture is available to watch on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/O4XLRLY29iw
A short, 10 minute video highlighting one section of the talk is available here: http://youtu.be/QNziA7NhvbE
Both videos will be available for free on iTunes U under Yale University’s publicly available channel. The videos will be housed under a newly made Collection entitled “Sustainable Architecture.”
A Yale Forest Forum (YFF) Review focusing on the themes and further areas of research discussed during both the roundtable and the public lecture will be published in Summer 2012. Electronic versions of this YFF Review will be made available on the GISF website (http://environment.yale.edu/gisf).
About Andrew Waugh: Andrew Waugh is a founding Director of Waugh Thistleton. He is passionate about architecture and the built environment outside as well as within the practice. Andrew has a keen understanding of property development, which allows him an insight into the mechanisms behind building procurement and is well respected in both the public sector and by private developers. Andrew is Vice-Chair of Hackney's Design Review Panel and an external examiner at the University of East London.
About Michael Green: Michael Green is a founding principal at Michael Green Architecture (MGA) in Vancouver. Recognized for his award winning buildings, public art, interiors, landscapes and urban environments, Michael’s reputation has led him to develop a wide range of projects from international airports and skyscrapers to Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House and modest but unique retail spaces and homes. Michael believes in championing the shift to new ways of building that will compliment the intersection of man’s greatest building challenges.
Chief Tom Tidwell, provided students with a historical overview of the Forest Service the role of the Forest Service, and its management practices and agency goals. He highlighted the Forest Service’s transition from focusing on short term outputs to the long term goal of restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems capable of delivering all the benefits and values Americans want and need, both now and for generations to come. In order to pick up the pace on restoration, Tidwell cited the need for partnerships and increased collaboration between all interested stakeholders.
About Tom Tidwell: Tom Tidwell has spent 33 years in the Forest Service and has served in a variety of positions at all levels of the agency, including as district ranger, forest supervisor, and legislative affairs specialist in the Washington Office. As deputy regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region, Tom facilitated collaborative approaches to wildland fire management, roadless area management, and other issues. As regional forester for the Northern Region, Tom strongly supported community-based collaboration in the region, finding solutions based on mutual goals and thereby reducing the number of appeals and lawsuits.
Artist Sandy Walker gave a talk at the reception of his original work Tuesday, April 17 at 5:00 pm in Kroon Hall to a group of students including his son, Noah Walker (MEM ’13) Students came from the Yale schools of Forestry, Management, Art, and Architecture. Walker explained his development from abstract work to expressionism that references nature and the human figure. He told stories of travelling in his RV with canvases as large as 9 feet tall by 12 feet wide to national parks, where through a series of drawings followed by small paintings, he would ultimately paint a summarizing large scale work—his vision of the place. In 1976, he set out for six months using this model and painted in the Grand Canyon, at Mount Shasta, and at the Niagara Falls, attempting to fathom archetypal American landscapes by creating one large diptych at each site.
Walker’s sustained collaborations with people of other disciplines, such as dance, acting, and martial arts have led to a body of work that reveals the close relationship between landscape and the human figure. Compositionally the two subjects often merge. In fact this sort of ambiguity has run through the whole of his mature work. His work rests always in the ambiguous zone between abstraction and representation.
A longer exhibition of his work is expected in September and October 2012, also in Kroon Hall.
|"Big Mountains" 1985, Oil on Canvas|
About Sandy Walker: Sandy Walker is an American artist whose work is included in many public collections including the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Fondes National in Paris, France.
|The USFS Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin.|
Through funding from the Class of 1980 fund and a small contribution from GISF’s Ball Foundation gift, five students took a field trip to USFS Forest Products Lab in Madison, WI.
Dr. Alex Wiedenhoeft, the resident Forest Products Lab wood anatomist, set up 1.5 days of workshops and presentations on the state of the art in wood-related research. Students heard presentations made by 8 different researchers at FPL, toured the lab’s state of the art research and testing facilities and as well as its impressive xylarium (which includes what used to be the Yale School of Forestry’s Tropical Hardwoods Collection).
|Composite materials developed at the Forest Products Laboratory|
New wood products developed at the Forest Products Laboratory , such as the composite materials at left, are expected to provide improved value, service-life, and utility to consumers, while also promoting sustainability and recycling. New forest products will provide construction and building materials that exceed current expectations, opening new markets and reducing effects on the environment, while also presenting an opportunity to promote jobs in rural communities that depend on forest resources for their economic health.
Below is a list of the presentations and workshops the students participated in over the course of 1.5 days and the corresponding presenters and facilitators involved.
|Lesser Known Species and Management/Properties||Michael Wiemann|
|Illegal Logging Overview||Alex Wiedenhoeft|
|Technology Transfer to Combat Illegal Logging||Alex Wiedenhoeft|
|Massively Sensored Approaches, Machine Vision||John Hermanson|
|DNA Extraction, Isolation & Organellear Microcapture||Alex Wiedenhoeft|
|Wood Composites Research||John Hunt|
|Moisture and Corrosion||Sam Zelinka|
|Lumber Quality and Standards, Baseball Bats||David Kretschmann|
|Nanoindentation of Wood Cell Walls||Joseph Jakes|
|Frontiers in Building Physics and Green Building||Sam Glas|
|The "trash tree" in Kroon Hall.|
GISF teamed up with the Arts and Media Student Interest Group to have a semester-long art exhibit in Kroon Hall. The exhibit featured a tree sculpture made entirely of recycled materials collected at the TGIF Kickoff. The work of artists Dan Ladd and Lydia Nettler were also displayed on easels next to the tree sculpture. Also on display were student photographs of trees, symbolic and mythical tree representations, and Michelle Lewis’s (MDiv ‘13, MESc ‘11) painting, which confronts the meaning of trees as both a symbol of the environment and an evocative association with a lynching tree for African-Americans. Collectively, the event was an exploration of the tree as a central subject in a number of cultures, religions, and systems of mythology, suggesting that trees have been deeply meaningful—sacred, even—to humans for centuries.