Tag Archives: custom designed wooden functional art

Poplar Study #6

poplar-study-6bI view poplar as a chameleon wood. It can have very little grain, shimmering grain (like the famous huanghauli wood) or quite dramatic figure. I chose the latter type to complement these finials.

poplar-study-top-detailA beaver had taken down several of our young poplar trees and what remained looked very interesting. I cut them off and lathed each into a pleasing shape. The 7 finials are attached by a tenon from underneath the table perimeter and look like torches.

The natural and handmade elements play off one another and make for an interesting conversation piece. This table is sized to be used as a coffee table, end table, bedside table, side table or occasional table.

57cm diameter x 51cm H
22.5″ diameter x 20″H

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Poplar Study #5

poplar-study-5aPoplar is a very underused wood. However, the grain in this table closely resembles one of the most precious woods in the world, Huanghauli (Dalbergia odorfera). The finest huanghuali has a translucent shimmering surface, exactly the same as our own poplar.

poplar-study5-topThis could be a coffee table, end table, bedside table, side table or occasional table. Surrounding the perimeter are 7 antique scientific tubes that can hold whatever you can imagine–flowers, colored water, seed, rocks, shells–you could even have drinks in them for you and 6 of your closest friends!

57cm diameter x 51cm H
22.5″ diameter x 20″H)


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Memories made tangible

shrubIn one of our older posts (Interesting Stuff: Memories are made of this), we talked about turning items from your family into tangible memories. But not every family has art or jewels to pass down to the next generation.

In fact, for a lot of people who grew up on farms in the Canadian prairies, even the buildings have disappeared to make more acreage. Sometimes all that’s left are a few shrubs. Such was the case with our latest commission. On arriving at the homestead, all we had to choose from was some caraganas.

This lowly shrub is actually a legume, Caragana arborescens. Native to Siberia and parts of China, it was introduced to North America in the 1700s.

The uses are astounding: a food source, an emmenagog to prevent pregnancy, a cancer treatment, fiber to make rope, a source of blue dye, pet bedding and even oil for aromatherapy.

During the 1930s, the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act (PFRA) worked extensively with farmers on the Prairies to establish caragana shelterbelts to prevent wind erosion. Saskatchewan farms alone have an estimated 25,000 miles of mature caragana shelterbelt. Add Manitoba and Alberta into the equation, and you’ve got thousands more miles of the hardy shrub-like plant.

caragana, memory pegWith this kind of heritage, I had to come up with something wonderful.  Because of the small amount of raw material I settled on a toothpick holder and wind chime/mobile. The challenge was not only that I needed 7 wonderful things for 7 family members, but to create something that future generations would like to keep.

After cutting over 300 pieces, I was able to choose some pleasing designs to make these items.

The idea for a memory piece is to remind you of loved ones and good times and smells from your childhood.

mobile, caragana, memory pegWhen you pass it on to the next generation, their memories are added to it also. Home is not just a geographical location, but a state of mind and heart.

Sometimes a piece as simple as a wind chime can be an unforgettable memory peg. To be a part of that for this family was a very enjoyable and satisfying commission.

Let us know if we can create a tangible memory peg for your family.


“—received the wind chimes and the toothpick holder today and am very touched by them, the thought of preserving something in the first place, then turning these thoughts into pieces of  art. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“—thank you so much for the imagination and the concrete time and skill you put into the caragana wind chimes and toothpick holder. That was such a lovely, lovely idea.”





Wood: Drum Table

custom designed birchbark furnitureThis table explores the medium of birch bark. I harvest the bark myself from trees already logged. The care with which it must be acquired and processed makes it as valuable as full-grain leather. I used almost 3 square meters (30 sq.ft.) in this piece.

Birch bark is a material that has been used by people on several continents since prehistoric times.

A form able to exploit the possibilities of the bark led to the simple drum shape. “Drum” is an architectural term referring to one of the cylindrical building blocks of a column. The six 3-D tessellations give the optical illusion of building blocks. Almost 400 birch bark parallelograms were formed into hexagons which appear as cubes to achieve the effect. Dyed birch bark makes up the background and top of the table with the bark tessellations left their natural color.

The table would be stunning in an entry or as a display table for another piece of artwork. Or stack books on it in a library. As with most of my pieces, they are flexible in their functions.

This is an excellent example of handcrafted studio wooden furniture made by INAKA. This unique contemporary handmade wooden table would be an asset to any home. High quality custom designed handmade wood furniture is a reflection of the owner as well as of the artist.

61cm diameter x 76cm H
24”diameter x 30”H
Price: $475


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Wood: The Pierre

custom designed wood furnitureI named this table after Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, a Canadian explorer who ventured farther west than any previous European explorer had. He traveled to Winnipeg and then southwest, along the trails where I found this tree. He was searching for a route across Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He didn’t find it, but I like to think that perhaps he stopped and camped near this oak, tying his food to it and starting the bend that resulted in the U-shaped trunk.

Pierre would have traveled here with his two sons in 1738. I cut down this tree in 2004 when it was going to be removed to widen a road. I counted 284 rings on the trunk, so I like to think that Pierre had touched it, along with all his dreams.

This is an excellent example of handmade studio wooden furniture made by INAKA. This unique contemporary handcrafted wood table would be an asset to any home. High quality custom designed handmade wood furniture is a reflection of the owner as well as of the artist.

91.5cm L x 91.5cm W x 30cm H
36”L x 36”W x 12”H
Price: $375


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Wood: Manitoba Magic

custom designed wood furniturecustom designed wood furnitureThe wood for this table came from a family who homesteaded in Manitoba in the mid 1880’s. They planted several maples around the turn of the 20th century in hopes of realizing sugar production from them. When the family started to specialize in crop production, the trees were forgotten until a subsequent buyer wanted to clear more land, and started bulldozing them down and burning them. This is all that is left of that stand.

A free form glass top I designed finishes the piece. I’m sure I’ll never find a piece with such exquisite grain ever again. The table could be used as a hall, entry or sofa table. It is a knock-down design for ease in shipping.

This is an outstanding example of handcrafted wooden furniture made from reclaimed wood by INAKA. This unique contemporary handcrafted studio wood table with glass top would be a highly desirable asset to any home. High quality custom designed handmade wood furniture is a reflection of the owner as well as of the artist.

132cm L x 58cm D x 84cm H
52”L x 23”D x 33”H
Price: $1500



Posted in Tables, What's New