The human race has evolved within the natural environment, at its mercy, but also flourishing on the bestowment of its gifts. We have mastered navigating the seas through maps in the stars, to using forest materials: bark, leaves, branches, fungi, to combat disease and build tools and shelter. None of this is possible without a deep connection to, and understanding of, the macrocosm of life proceeding around us. We have a biological connection to the natural world, borne from the compulsion to endure, and fostered since time immemorial.
Walking through a forest there is an intimate and untranslatable heightening of the senses. The smells of soil, of rain, are embraced from some place deep within us. When immersed, we feel a primal awakening; one that cannot be interpreted through a book, or these words on a screen. The concept of being in nature is an evolving perspective. Whether it be strolling the seawall in Vancouver, or climbing the peaks of the nearby Lions, the pursuits differ but the innate reaction is the same. The wonders of the natural environment, the deep and reviving breaths of air, spark a curiosity that compels us to keep exploring with appreciation and awareness.
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Shinrin yoku (森林浴), translated to “forest bathing,” has recently gained traction as a form of nature therapy, and is linked to ancient Buddhist and Shinto practices. It is a slow and mindful exposure to a natural environment, facilitating a meditative and restorative experience. In western societies, nature walks have been prescribed to combat depression, and studies have shown that exposure to green space reduces your chances of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more. We are lucky to be able to celebrate the many experiences afforded by the natural world, our original home and caretaker. Brent hopes that as you interact with his work, touching the sculpture and furniture, smelling the wood and contemplating its origins, that the sensation of being within nature might awaken within you once again.
Appearing to be sliced directly out of a section of densely packed forest, the Alder series was inspired by Brent’s experience of walking the forest near his home. He noticed he was drawn not only to the trees, but also the spaces in between. The voids, dark shadows, suggest mystery in their depths. Brent wanted to create objects that would tell of this experience, and hopes that as you peer into an alder piece you can imagine the feeling of walking in a rainforest yourself.
With our Soma series we celebrate the attraction to the physicality of an object. Our Soma table bases have been carved from a single tree, reduced to a form that is familiar and distinct. Attractions to the symmetry and patterns in design have been recognized from seashells to the plumage of birds. We have historically had a base understanding of geometries, shapes, textures and sounds that are inherently pleasing with no obvious explanation. Our Soma base is a form that is easily understood. It requires no further interpretation, it simply is good because we can feel that it is.
Our Sweep series celebrates the trees that, under forces of wind and snow, have become bowed at the base and yet still continue skyward. Making the tree stronger than before, this “sweep” feature speaks to nature’s resilience. It is a characteristic that draws our attention, inspiring contemplation of the mysterious cause and unique shape. One can sometimes imagine themselves climbing or sitting on the bends, interacting with the tree on a deeper, more intimate level.