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Crafting beauty from the dark places of stress

Crafting beauty from the dark places of stress

Wandering along a country lane past unremarkable trees, most of us are unaware of a silent stress some of them bear. So what’s going on and how can beauty be drawn from such places? Here, we explain what a skilled cabinet maker can do with the apparently ugliest part of a timber.

Can trees be stressed? Yes, absolutely but, as in other forms of life, it’s sometimes through the darkest times of stress – and as a unique result of it - a resilient beauty is formed.

Have you ever wondered what those ugly, knobbly growths are on tree trunks? How they got there, are they meant to be there and what’s going on inside?

These are burrs.

Look carefully and you can see them as rounded outgrowths on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds.

Many grow underground on the roots but are still covered by bark.

Burrs result from a tree undergoing some form of stress usually caused by an injury, virus, fungus, insect infestation or certain types of mould. And they cause deformities.

Some burrs so heavily penetrate the tree it’s almost all the way to their heart and all along their length.

But the trees bear it and live on. And as they do so, something amazing is happening inside.
Something much more beautiful, resilient and richly coloured than the surrounding plainer timber is forming within the burr.

The grain in burr elm for example, is so wild, going in so many different directions, it resists splitting and is unusually stable. So it’s more dense than ordinary elm heartwood and polishes more beautifully.

To the eye of an experience cabinet maker, these are uncut diamonds waiting to be polished and transformed into something uniquely spectacular.

And that’s what we do here at My Fathers Heart.

Each burr is unique; an essential quality for our individual commissions.

We carefully select and buy the finest burr timber or veneer for each piece, whether for a freestanding furniture piece or to adorn the cabinets of an entire handmade kitchen. Each piece is delicately cut, polished and positioned to create intricate symmetry or patterns with kaleidoscopic options for design.

We see beyond what others can. We know how to reveal beauty from those hidden places of stress. It’s all in a day’s work for us.

Take a look at examples in our online gallery or come and visit our award-winning showroom and see for yourself.

By Jonathan Coulthard29/01/2018
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