Last summer, two woodworkers and long time friends–Lee, shop manager at OWS, and J Sassaman, shop manager at AutoDesk’s Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco, shaved their heads and hit the southern Sierra for a 200 mile trek along the John Muir Trail.
Along this historic trail and amidst this magnificent landscape, the two conceived of a collaborative project for the upcoming group exhibition “Windfall” at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. The show features works from the LA Box Collective (of which Lee is a member), utilizing fallen trees from local storms that were salvaged into workable wood.
In conceiving of this piece, J and Lee were influenced by the strength and ubiquity of the granite landscape that surrounded them on their trek, and the unusually harsh weather which not only uprooted large trees around them, but also tossed tents and buried trails deep in snow. Their twenty-second and final night was spent at Red’s Meadow, the site of a particularly catastrophic windstorm known as the “Big Blowdown” which leveled thousands of old growth Red Fir and Lodgepole Pine trees in 2011.
It was also the site of Devil’s Postpile National Monument, a dark cliff of hexagonal columnar basalt formed by lava flow roughly 100,000 years ago.
Their piece for Windfall merges the temporal medium of wood with the seemingly eternal medium of stone exhibited at this particular trail junction. Execution of the project combined the traditional woodworking techniques employed at our low-tech Offerman Woodshop, with the cutting-edge digital fabrication technology used by the many artists at Pier 9.
The claro walnut slab came from a windfallen tree in Santa Rosa, CA that split in two during the drying process. JD and Lee will each keep one side of the slab table, with one half of the trail, and one half of the eight mountain passes they traversed in the Sierras.
Windfall by Box Collective opens May 29 and runs until Sept 4, 2016 at the Craft and Folk art Museum at5814 Wilshire Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90036