Living Wood, Not Wooden Living

When is a wooden table not a wooden table?

When it's a Marigold.

 "Wooden Table", Peter Marigold, Libby Sellers Gallery

"Wooden Table", Peter Marigold, Libby Sellers Gallery

 

That's the designer Peter Marigold, and I was lucky enough to get an insight into his work as he spoke with us at Collect.

Marigold is a resourceful designer-maker, utilising the materials and ideas that come to him through his immediate environment. Often exploring wood in his designs he harvests the fallen branches from his neighbourhood of Hampstead Heath to use for timber. Having this local resource to hand has encouraged him to explore it's properties in many ways.

 

 The textures of Peter Marigold's Wooden Tables, created using a repeated grain surface from a sample of wood.

The textures of Peter Marigold's Wooden Tables, created using a repeated grain surface from a sample of wood.

Not only does he use wood to make many of his designs, it is through experiments with this organic material  that he also brings the qualities he discovers into other very different substances.

"Characteristically, these are not straightforward forms, but instead have been created using wood rather than being made of wood. They therefore reference wood as an active verb rather than a monumental noun; the resulting forms highly animated and not ‘wooden’ at all." Libby Sellers Gallery

 

By translating what he sees in the formation and degrading of wood into something very hard and processed like metal he is breathing life into a manufactured material.

Through playing with our expectations of what materials look and feel like, it makes us want to engage with these objects, question them, pick them up, touch and interact. 

 One of Marigold's "Wooden Forms" where he uses wax to capture the surface texture of wood. The fragmented, fragile looking shapes are then cast in materials like iron.

One of Marigold's "Wooden Forms" where he uses wax to capture the surface texture of wood. The fragmented, fragile looking shapes are then cast in materials like iron.

It is the natural wearing-out of the objects we use in our lives that gives him great pleasure. Every knock, scuff and dent that marks a surface is like a tree ring documenting their lifespan.

This also shows them to be of a greater quality, worth keeping even with their lived-in "damage" teaching us the patience to invest in an object and forming a bond with our environment.

 "Bleed" series of locally ebonised cedar cabinets by Peter Marigold showing at Collect 2015 with Sarah Myerscough gallery.

"Bleed" series of locally ebonised cedar cabinets by Peter Marigold showing at Collect 2015 with Sarah Myerscough gallery.

 

At this year's Collect, Marigold was showing his cedar cabinets stained from the reaction with steel nails holding them together. Entitled "Bleed", the beautiful black streaks became the most prominent feature of these sturdy cabinets. 

"Man builds things up, and then nature begins a slow steady process of taking them down again. A normal response to this effect might be despair like King Canute trying to hold back the sea, but I see beauty," said Marigold.

 

 A close up of the inky patterns made by the steel nails reacting with the wood in Peter Marigold's "Bleed" Cabinets

A close up of the inky patterns made by the steel nails reacting with the wood in Peter Marigold's "Bleed" Cabinets

Rather than fighting nature in preventing this unpredictable marking, these displayed the reaction of the untreated metal with the tannin in the wood showing a truth to the materials.

I loved seeing his way the designer was letting go of the piece they had made, allowing nature to take it's course to create a unique, naturally beautiful object. It reminded me of the way mascara can run down a perfectly made-up face showing an overwhelming emotion, too much sadness to mask and hide or a joy too powerful to hold inside.

For more information of Peter Marigold's projects visit his site here.

There are lots of great Artist's talks still going on at Collect on from 9th - 11th May 2015-check them out HERE