Dan Henny, a craftsman specializing in rustic style aspen and ponderosa pine furniture, shares with us his history and passion of his career. He also talks about the sudden aspen decline, a challenge that he is facing as the growth of aspen trees in the proximity of Colorado is affected by climate change that weakens their resistance against bugs.
Napa Valley, a viticultural area located in north California, is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world. Servicing the wine industry for the last 20 years in Napa, Yann Guigen, a French cooper, makes his fine cooperage a vintage art and craft. Yann takes care of repairing and maintaining cooperage at Barrel Builders where French oak and American oak are used for wine barrels. From the type, age, grain to treatment, oak barrels provide flavor and aromatic support to the wine that they have been used in wine fermentation and aging for centuries.
As Santa Cruz is renowned for the exquisite craft of the lutherie, Santa Cruz Guitar Company (SCGC) is described as one of the star luthiers in that area. SCGC, a manufacturer of acoustic guitars founded in 1976, makes the best out of wood in the realm of music by using reclaimed wood and harvested new wood including Rosewood, Walnut, Sycamore, Red Maple, Cedar, Spruce and more, in a responsible approach. From time to time, Richard Hoover, the founder, selects the best sounding wood materials possible among downed trees, sunken logs, old tenements and building beams with his team to make the sophisticated stringed instruments.
Dongyang Woodcarving, developed in Zhejiang Province, China since Tang Dynasty (618-907), is characterized by its exquisite relief carving. Each piece of work goes through 6 making processes and requires excellent craftsmanship to accomplish the delicate design. Despite its fame, it encounters the problem of shrinking number of new blood and lack of creativity. Alerted to the worrying situation, institutions and individuals have taken steps to reverse the situation and it has been proved to be a successful story of preserving traditional craftsmanship.
Located in Central Japan, Gifu prefecture connects main roads to the west and the east coast. This makes it a suitable hub for log transporting and trading.
In the auction season, people come to Gifu Precious Wood Market and try bidding the precious wood they want. Auctioneers open the bids and start to read each specific price in a unique rhythm repeatedly to maintain the intensity of the atmosphere. In such an ambience, people will raise their price continuously and get the bid in a snap!
In front of the office, there stands a monument engraved with the words “Wood’s Soul”, which shows the homage Gifu people pay to the wood. They believe that the wood has guarded and protected them for hundreds of years.
Nagoya is in the west part of Aichi prefecture. It is located in the Ch?bu region between Tokyo and the ancient capital Kyoto hence people also name it Central Capital. Famous for its car industry with Toyota and other brands, Nagoya is the fourth most populated city in Japan.
In this industrialized city, there still lives a group of people who try to preserve the ancient Japanese wood culture. Some are struggling between the reality of life and their ideals of protecting traditional techniques, while some has made a fortune transforming wood art into business.
For example, Mr. Makoto Kuroda is a famous wooden chessboard master who insists to make woodcrafts in a traditional way in spite of the fierce competition of machine products or Chinese hand-made products. On the other hand, Mr. Tatsuro Hioki owns a chain restaurant serving crabs and Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is famous for its wooden interior design and it is popular among Japanese and people from around the world.
Portugal is the leading country of cork exportation in the world. From cork oak forests to manufacturing factories, every step is strictly legislated for protecting precious tree species. Apart from producing wine stoppers, cork bark is also used to develop eco-fashion and various items, including accessories, furniture, even clothes.
Bagamoyo is a tranquil harbor filled with Islamic fishermen and westerners who come here for vacation in the east coast of Africa. It’s about one hour drive toward north from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Fishermen build traditional dhows for fishing and transporting daily goods, such as palm oil and fuel from mainland Africa to nearby islands, for example, Zanzibar.
In Bagamoyo, most fishermen still use traditional dhows while only very few of them with better economic status can afford engine boat. A traditional dhow has one or more masts and is usually made of local timber. To sail the dhow, it requires 4-5 people, one operates the oar while the others spread out the sails on the mast. Today, fishing is still the main economic activity along the Bagamoyo coast.
The region surrounding the Moshi Town, just at the bottom of the great Mount Kilimanjaro, is known for its forest resources and lively communities. Wood-related industries such as wooden box beekeeping and banana brewing prosper in this area. To help advance the development of the beekeeping business, the government, academia and local business owners have worked together to improve the business by modifying the traditional wooden bee boxes. On the other hand, many banana beer brewers have kept the traditional way of brewing with wooden barrels. Despite their different paths, people involved in these two sectors have worked to maintain the tradition and the culture related to wood utilization in the country.
Changbai Mountain, located in the northeast of China, has abundant natural resources. Long ago, the forest industry was a rather prosperous industry. However, due to forest protection policy, nowadays logging has strict limitations. We were lucky to be there at the end of logging season observing the whole process of logging, classifying and storing.