The Salvations Design Competition put on by the Green Project is on display now at Canal Place for only three more days, before the fifty pieces of handmade furniture and lighting are auctioned off on saturday April 16th at a gala to benefit the Green Project. The idea behind the competition, in case you don’t already know, is to showcase what creations are possible through the utilization of material that is often considered waste. The designers were challenged with making a piece of lighting or furniture out of at least 90% reclaimed material. This is a difficult task enough, but even more challenging is competing with the caliber of work that is produced by the designers. Some of the best woodworkers, lighting designers, and artists in the city pull out all the stops and produce some truly original work. It is really cool to see what designs these craftspeople come up with through inventive reuse of salvaged materials.
I have two pieces in the show, one piece of lighting and one piece of furniture. I built a lightbox using a salvaged window and transferring an image I shot onto the glass using caulk as a medium. I then built a lightbox and attached it to the sash, so the whole thing becomes a lit New Orleans night scene when it is plugged in and turned on. It made it to the top 20 in the competition.
The table is made entirely of salvaged lathing strips, which are the pieces of wood that are behind the plaster in walls. The top of the table is plaster with another image transfer, this one done with acetone. The Lather’s table took me a really long time to build, and was by far the most difficult furniture project I’ve ever undertaken, but I’m happy with the results.
The Salvations Furniture Competition was written about in The Fine Woodworking Magazine blog by editor Asa Christiana in which he suggests that using reclaimed materials in furniture making might be a developing trend (it already is in New Orleans for sure). I personally use salvaged wood all the time in my furniture making, simply because it is readily available and saves me money on new wood. In addition, old growth wood is often superior to what you can buy today, and old wood has a character to it that I just like.