Man since the beginning of time has had an intimate relationship with trees. Trees provide us the oxygen we breathe. They feed, shelter and warm us. Trees have provided us with our tools to build with and weapons to protect us. They have built mighty ships that endured the ravages of the oceans to safeguard us around the world
Wood is an incredible medium to create with. It has an unmatched warmth, depth and beauty. It can be bent, carved, laminated and comes in an unlimited palette of colors and tones to paint with. I love working with wood in any manner. Picking between crafting furniture, musical instruments, wooden boats or wood flooring would be like trying to pick which one of my sons I love the most.
My ornamental floors are composed of many of thousands of boards which all dimensionally changing throughout time. Although some may consider a wood floor unrefined and not as intimate as crafting a sculptured piece of furniture which caresses your body it is the size of my wood canvas and the dynamics of the medium that intrigues me.
The designs used to create ornate wood floors are as old as man himself. Since the beginning of civilization man has had an irrepressible desire to create. This was followed with the desire to add ornamentation to his creations. Throughout history we have decorated our objects, buildings and even ourselves. No one civilization created ornamentation.
Wood floors have always been considered to be on a lower level of the architectural hierarchy. We look to the heavens so the ceilings and walls took precedence over what man walked on. In 1547 the French architect Philibert Delorme help elevate the awareness of wood flooring by designing the Fontainebleau’s ballroom parquet floor to match its elaborate ornate wooden ceiling.
Wood flooring in our life time has become a mass produced commodity from lower grade logs. In some small way I desired to help elevate the significance of wood flooring and in dedication to French architect Philibert Delorme I started crafting a wood mosaic of The Creation Of Adam from the The Sistine Chapel.
I find cutting the pieces for my ornamental wood floors meditative and therapeutic in nature. My parquet floor that I created for Fine Home Building “A Beautiful Floor From Scraps” was composed of 19,413 small hand cut pieces. The mosaic of The Creation Of Adam is on a larger scale composed of 63,180 wooden pieces.
There are 47 different species utilized to represent the 47 individual sections on the ceiling. Creating a mosaic of such religious nature makes one a little introspective. One day after 17 hours of painting with wood I started to contemplate if by creating such an ornate floor was I giving proper reverence to the wood.
I was not sure if my true intent for my mosaic would be interpreted the way I intended. People might not see the forest for the trees. I have started sketching slight variations with God’s out reached hand holding a small sapling as a gift to Adam.
The question remained how I could best promote the beauty and perfection of wood on a worthy enough scale. A wood floor is the largest wood working project that most craftsmen will ever have the chance to work on. Many of my wooden canvases are commonly larger than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. My quest became to create the largest most perfect wooden canvases.
Wood flooring has become a mass produced commodity. In order for the flooring manufactures to remain competitive with other flooring options they used lower grade logs and marketed imperfections as desirable. An artificially low ceiling was placed the industry’s quality standards.
I do believe there is a natural beauty in the knots, discoloration and other imperfections in wood. These imperfections may remind us of our own imperfections and help support our intimate relation with trees. I prefer to give reverence to the tree by rejoicing in their perfection and the endless gifts they bestow on to us.
Creating perfect flooring is a labor of love. The craftsman has an intimate relationship each board from the forest to the board’s final home. The same care is taken as if each board was crafting a fine piece of furniture. My creation of the “purest form of flooring” unblemished and perfect in color celebrates the natural beauty of wood.
I have chosen to craft my flooring with vertical grain. Vertical grain has a simple elegance compared to the distracting busy wood grain of plain sawn cut boards. As Leonardo da Vinci stated “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Vertical grain’s beauty is more than skin deep. It is stronger and more durable than plain sawn wood grain. It can endure harsher environmental conditions. It can take a heavier impact without denting and wears less. I have designed my wood flooring to be the most stable and durable possible. As an artisan I can slightly touch upon immortality by having my creations endure past my own life.