Category Archives: Uncategorized

Windfall Show Installation Shots

Our Windfall show is still going strong at the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. Here’s a few new installation shots for you to enjoy. All the amazing details are best appreciated in person so be sure to visit and support CAFAM!

photos by Robert Apodaca

 

Windfall

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Windfall by Box Collective is on view at the Craft an Folk Art Museum from May 28 – September 4, www.cafam.orgThe exhibition consists of 15 works of furniture and objects made from salvaged trees, most of which fell in northeastern L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley during the historic windstorm of 2011.

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During the November 30th/December 1st storm, wind speeds reached up to 100 miles per hour. Nearly 5,500 trees were damaged in Pasadena, while hundreds more were destroyed in neighboring vicinities, including about 300 non-native and prehistoric species at the Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Gardens in Arcadia. Many logs from downed trees at the Arboretum were salvaged soon after the storm. Some were used for Forces of Nature, a show of artworks and objects made from the salvaged wood, on the first anniversary of the storm. Some were saved and carefully dried so that they could one day become fine furniture.

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Most of the works for Windfall are made out of this wood collected from the L.A. Arboretum’s fallen trees. David Johnson’s media cabinet is made from the entire trunk of a pink cedar, while designer Stephan Roggenbuck chose Lebanese cypress to make his bench. Cliff Spencer used pieces of a paulownia tree to make a sleek, contemporary beehive; a city scape of a sound diffuser; and a multi colored, folding screen. Furniture maker Harold Greene’s chaise lounge is built from bent laminated layers of a cedar of Lebanon. Woodworker Andrew Riiska salvaged a persimmon tree in the pouring rain to build his Grasshopper Lounge Chair and a bench that is part of his marshmallow forest installation in the CAFAM lobby. For his i table, William Stranger used a slab of paulownia, that came from a pair originally salvaged from the Arboretum for Forces of Nature.

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Some designers found material from trees that fell around their neighborhoods. Robert Apodaca’s hand-carved and scorched Blackout Bowls are made from recovered pieces of a eucalyptus tree that knocked over power lines near his home in Chinatown. William Stranger salvaged an Engelmann oak from a house near his studio in Pasadena for his Plane mirror. Casey Dzierlenga milled a fallen maple tree in her friend’s backyard in Montecito Heights to make the Lorca Coffee Table. Designers RH Lee and Samuel Moyer also incorporate wood from windstorms outside of Los Angeles into their pieces. RH Lee salvaged pieces of claro walnut in Santa Rosa, CA that have become end tables. Samuel Moyer’s Arrow Console is fabricated from an ironwood tree that landed on his truck in a Hudson River Valley windstorm in New York.

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On July 12th 65 people participated in a CraftLab family workshop with Box Collective members William Stranger and Andrew Riiska. Box Collective provided scrap wood as the raw material for an afternoon of creativity. Many interesting things were made.

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photography by Michelle Cho, William Stranger

CAFAM Visit

We had a visit with the nice folks at the Craft and Folk Art Museum this week to discuss our show which will take place  there the Summer of 2016. It also gave us a chance to see how our desk is doing in the space. Very well I might say!

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Arts & Crafts Kitchen Table

I’ve been interested in Arts & Crafts lately. I suspect being near Pasadena has been an influence. Expect to see some of its details showing up in my work but with a modern perspective.

Here is a kitchen table that is on its feet for the first time.

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LA Box Collective’s Fourth Year at AltBuild Expo in Santa Monica

LA Box Collective's Fourth Year at AltBuild Expo in Santa Monica

We look forward to seeing you there! Meet many of the members, working to support sustainable local designer-makers in Los Angeles.

CAFAM Desk Debut

Tomorrow night the entry desk that the L.A. Box Collective built for the Craft and Folk Art Museum debuts to the public for the first time! It has been over a year in the making but has finally made it from its initial concept sketches to reality. But you didn’t think we’d spoil the surprise, did you? You’ll have to go to the opening to see it in its final form!
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Join us at CAFAM for the opening reception for “Social Fabric and Scratching the Surface: Contemporary Wood Sculpture” and also check out the debut of the desk. The opening goes from 6-9pm and admission is $12 (or free if you are a museum member.) If you’d like to see the desk any other time for free just pay a visit to the CAFAM Museum Shop which also happens to be selling some smaller BoxCo pieces.

What I’m working on now

Drawers are such a piece of cake.
Not for me of course.  But in general, drawers are so cheap.  You can buy the boxes on the internet for less than what it costs me to actually buy the materials.  No joke, that’s real.  Just google it.  You’ll be stunned.  Or maybe you won’t.  After all, I’m a furniture making nerd, so the things that stun me are weird.  Then you just screw your drawer face material to your internet made drawer box, and you’re in business.  Fat city.  It’s such a damn utilitarian thing, a drawer.  You put the crap in it that you don’t want to have lying around, you close the drawer, and presto!  Less clutter in your house.  Also, from a fabrication perspective, drawer boxes are precisely the thing that plywood is perfect for.  You need thin, strong, consistent swaths of material that can make, well, a box.  With plywood you just cut out the shapes you need and join them together.  With the right router jig, you can even make dovetails, and even fancier joinery.
But, and I bet you didn’t see this coming, it just doesn’t sit right with me.  Drawers off the assembly line.  pure function and efficiency over form.  It’s this kind of thinking that has really kept me waltzing right around the poverty line for a good long time.  It’s really hard to be an artisanal (dare I say artistic?) furniture maker and not make some bad decisions vis-a-vis price-to-product ratio.

Drawer side and box joint jig.

Drawer side and box joint jig.

See, if I was a good businessman, I’d be ruthlessly about my bottom line, and all else would fall into place from there.  That’s not so hard to do when you’re going through your accounts, making your estimates, sourcing your materials, competing against a lousy economy for a job.  But when you get in the damn shop, and you know you have to make the right choice to do better than break even, it’s not so simple.  It’s hard to automate instead of express.  Inevitably (and I should really know myself by now) I choose to do what I see as the right thing artistically at the expense of the bottom line.
Witness, the chest of drawers I’m currently building.

A stack of box-jointed solid wood drawers
A stack of box-jointed solid wood drawers

I love making these box jointed drawers.  But I can never pay for them.  They’re solid wood everywhere, including in the bottom, where you could so easily hide plywood.  They’re so much harder to install, because you can’t use an applied face to cover your mistakes.  The face of the drawer is the front of the box.  Period.  But I also can’t help but believe that they are nicer for it.  I feel better making them.  I just can’t take you out to dinner with the proceeds.  Thanks for understanding.

Cradle type base for the chest of drawers I'm making.

Cradle type base for the chest of drawers I’m making.  In ze glue up phase.  I got that massive clamp at the San Bernardino flea market for a dollar.  I love that thing.

my main assistant, and primary counselor, hard at work on her chew toy.

my main assistant, and primary counselor, hard at work on her chew toy.