Thursday, February 11, 2010

New artisans at UTF

Hi Everybody!

So, the snow storms of 2010 have had the cumulative effect of slowing me down long enough to catch up on some much-belated blog postings!! There has been so much activity in the past year and especially since the completion of the carved tables we provided for the G-20 summit... multiple posts will be needed to keep it all in readable segments.

Fist off… a huge “Thank You!” to everyone that helped us bring the monumental task of completing these tables to fruition. We had over a dozen people help us out with this endeavor.. The outpouring of help and spirit of Pittsburgh people here is just amazing! It’s so awesome to be a part of such a community. Thanks again everyone.

We were honored to have a few new artisans take up residencies in "Studio" and start considering some of the great "City wood" we have available for consideration.
Earlier in the year Jim Ladner Custom Furniture began tenancy... and just in time too! Jim was able to offer us some of his time to help in the fabrication of the G-20 tables. Jim was instrumental in our on-time completion of this undertaking. Jim has also been using some of our “City Wood” walnut in a couple of his projects for his clients… and with wonderful results as these images show. The grain and character of these walnut sections just makes these pieces jump. Jim has also been reshaping salvaged joists to create cabinet doors for another project. Amazing work Jim! It’s great to have you in “Studio” and considering our city’s urban resources.

We recently welcomed Jason Kirker into the “Studio." Kirke, is an endeavor started by Jason Kirker, who has been creating lighting fixtures and other furnishings from salvage materials with his business. Jason participated in “Arbor Aid 2009,” along with over 20 other artisans. (Read more about this great annual fund-raising event supporting the work of Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest on their website.) You can check out some of Kirke's work on his Picassa gallery.

We've also had Jason Boone, Geoff D., and Greg, all of whom work with architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson join us for individual projects for their homes. And just last week we welcomed our newest resident, Krishnan Padmanabhan a graduate from CMU, into the "Studio" to begin the creative endeavor of taking his 2D work in another dimension.

Over the past year, we've had many other artists "In Studio" for individual projects... more on these great projects coming in our next posting.

Welcome to Urban Tree Forge everyone!
And may your ventures be filled with the prosperous ingenuity and creativity that helps you grow to new levels!

Next post, we'll show you some highlights of the many projects we were fortunate to see pass through our doors the past year...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

G-20 Opportunity


Urban Tree Forge to create
Tables for the G-20 Summit here in Pittsburgh

Thank you!!... to Phipps Conservatory for the great opportunity to participate in our city's hosting of the G-20 summit!
Phipps Conservatory, located here in the city of Pittsburgh, asked us to design twelve tables for a dinner and discussion session that will be held in their beautifully remodeled facility for the G-20 summit, and we just received the official approval to begin the project.

Uhhhh... just one thing...
we only have two weeks to turn 12 oak slabs into tables!

Fortunately, we just happen to have a number of trees that we recovered from Riverview Park, located here in the city, that were removed last year.

Joe and Ben Suto of Lumberjack Tree Service were kind enough to allow us the
opportunity to utilize the trunks of some of these magnificent beauties that the city was forced to remove for local projects. We weren't sure how we would use them, but we knew they were just too amazing to walk away from... and now we know why, especially since they just came out of the kiln last week... Talk about synchronicity!! How wonderful to be afforded this great opportunity to make use of the tremendous natural resources available to us here right in our own great city Pittsburgh.

When we're finished with this project, we'll still have a few more of these beautiful specimens available for consideration for a future project or two... maybe there's an opportunity waiting for you... We'll just have to wait and see!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The courting Bench

I Got it Finished!!

My submission for the Pittsburgh Technology Council's 15 Minutes Gallery 2009 Annual Art& Technology exhibition was accepted as were fellow Urban Tree Forge Artisans Jennifer Bechak and Robert Bishop. Congratulations everyone!! I submitted 3 different pieces for consideration and they chose the one of the three I had least completed… requiring the most effort to present.

It has been a mad dash to complete this sculpture in time for the opening of the exhibition this Thursday June 18, 2009. With many late nights, and the aid of some awesome friends like Jason Boone and Nate Lucas we have

“The Courting Bench”

A beautiful piece of sycamore from the Smithfield East End Cemetery complimented with a few select pieces of Allegheny Cemetery elm… and an apple bottom to round out the bottom in the back… of course.

We finally delivered the bench this past Monday afternoon.

Please join us this Thursday evening for the opening at the 15 minutes Gallery. Visit the gallery website for more information on this event and directions for getting there.

If you are not able to check out the exhibit for the opening the show will be available for viewing through August I do believe. Please stop in and take a look at some tremendous Pittsburgh artists!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Opportunities
From Brookline
Indiana Township
Wilkinsburg Borough

We received a call from our friend Reid Crosby about
this ash tree being cut down in the Brookline area of our city.. . When we arrived the Mcnulty brothers, Ryan and Kevin of McNulty Landscaping were busy working with Tim the tree man to remove this wonderful ash tree.
We are going to be losing many of these wonderful trees in the future because of the emerald ash borer. It's sad to see these wonderful trees leaving our forest. Considering the possibilities for using these now is going to be our challenge. These particular ash logs would make about 900 square feet of some super tough flooring, it's the same material used for great baseball bats, and tool handles... This would also make for some amazingly beautiful furnishings as we found when we opened this regal beauty. We are seeking opportunities to utilize this material somewhere in our great city. If you have a project you think may be appropriate for these logs please let us know.

Just today we received a call from Wayne the crane operator about this tree in Indiana Township.
We haven't been to see her yet, but she sure is big and beautiful.
If this
amazing tree is still sound, there are some beautiful opportunities to get creative with this root section. We will know soon enough. If you would be interested in using or creating with this section please
give us a call or drop us a line. Wayne tells us this tree was uprooted and laying across a creek. They had it removed to keep it from blocking the flow of the local creek. The roots are clean and she has been out of the water about a year now... an awesome sculptural possibility!!

We also received a call from our friend Joan King of the Wilkinsburg Shade tree Committee regarding a mulberry tree her landlord was having removed from her yard a couple weeks ago.
We jumped on the opportunity to acquire some of the beauty that is the wonderful mulberry wood from our communities. This wood is both beautiful and extremely rot resistant... one of the best available! We've already had a client put dibs on one of these colorful slabs for a garden bench in their back yard. There aren't many of these available so if you're interested you should hurry ... these will not last long.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Urban Art Pittsburgh Style

In The Studio

We have So much going on in the studio lately as many of the artists in residence here have been busy creating many new and exciting projects!

Jenifer Bechak has been working with our new oxy acetylene torches creating some beautiful bent metal work for a project she has been working to complete.

Olof Berner and James Sichak have been collaborating together for a cool project using some City Wood, salvage wood from industry and some driftwood recovered from our rivers. It's still early on in theis project, but you can see the great flow between these artists already.

Nate Lucas is working on a couple projects here as he works to complete a coffee table for one client, and a set of oars for another client.

James Sichak has been working to create some new jewelry items, preparing for the regional festivals season, and working on Urban Tree Forge projects in addition to his collaboration with Olof Berner.

I have had a couple projects going on myself in the studio. First I started working on a branch section from the Smithfield East end Cemetery sycamore tree and have been working this into what may be deemed my version of Bench 2009.

With my second project, I had another great opportunity to demonstrate with the Children's Museum for two days, and used the time to get things moving forward on the Moon River headboard sculpture after a full year of drying. I am hoping to complete this as 3 Rivers, a sculpture, in time to submit it for consideration for the Pittsburgh Tech Council's June 15 Minute Gallery show... submissions are due in two more days!!! I wonder if this would be considered suitable as public art?
Still lots to do to get this one ready! Better get back to this or I won't have anything to submit regardless of what it is!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Urban Tree harvest

City Wood!!

We spent the past couple weeks getting some of our store of logs milled for upcoming projects we will be workiing on over this summer. We have some amazing large sections and some unusually wonderful grain character showing up in much of our material that is just going to make for some beautiful and unique furnishings and some great millwork.

As you can see, these amazing 4/4 oak slabs are almost 24" across and are in excess of sixteen feet long. We have another similar to this over Nineteen feet long. We have more amazingly rich material that was returned to us from our beautiful city forest as well. We have enough oak here to provide in excess of 5000 square feet of oak hardwood flooring, and more on the way.

We also found some tremendous character. Check out this beautiful crotch material we uncovered in one of our oak logs...

And this great section of walnut is destined to become an awesome top for a buffet, coffee table or even a sculptural wall hinging as it has such tremendous grain character.

The trees from in our city are larger than most forest resources because we strive to keep our trees alive as long as we can, not for a sustained harvest or for logging purposes.

Rich Haviland our friend and sawyer has a little wrestling match here as he works to get one of our city logs onto the mill to be sawn.
With Rich Haviland there to help us load the milled material, we were able to deliver 5000 board feet of hardwoods to the kilns at Ritenour Lumber in just one day this week... What a long day that was! Two full truck loads of slabs and milled lumber for projects within our great city of Pittsburgh!

Our first load contained a whole stack of whole width slabbed oak trees that were cut 2 inches thick and are up to 40 inches wide. Two of these slabs are destined for a local Carnegie Library project and two others for a residential project in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh. The rest of these amazing slabs are available for consideration for projects. The remainder of the load was all 8/4 (2 inch thick) milled lumber we intend to utilize for the manufacturing on doors and table slabs

Our second load was a tremendous mix of the material we milled with rich Haviland at his saw yard. We have some amazing walnut as well as some oak, maple, and another log of slabbed whole width oak. These slabs are also in excess of 36 inches wide...

Our city trees are just yielding some amazing material for us!! We are so fortunate to be in a position to utilize this often overlooked natural resource here within our community.

We had tho ask Paul and Buck at Ritenour Lumber to hang around a little after closing for us to get our second load to them. They were gracious and accommodating in working with us to help make our project work... Thanks folks!This is one piece of wood, not a pile of logs... interested?

Stay Tuned... There's More Happening!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pittsburgh Tree Plantings

Staking A Claim For
Our Pittsburgh Forest

The past couple weeks my nephew James Sichak and I volunteered with a number of local groups to help reforest our Urban environment with trees to enhance our communities.
We helped the Wilkinsburg Shade Tree Commission relocate 23 trees from a community nursery to homes throughout their neighborhoods a couple weeks ago.

We turned out with a
number of community groups including East Liberty Development, and Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest(FPUF) and about a hundred volunteers from various community organizations in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh to plant trees on East Liberty Boulevard.

Then, this past
weekend for Earth Day we joined again with FPUF and this time we worked together with Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Tree Vitalize, and Friends of The Waterfront . Our gratitude and humble thanks to corporate Sponsor Keen Shoes and the around 300 volunteers helping with planting trees along the South Side Trail bike trail. People were planting trees, perennials and bulbs along sections of the trail. There were over a 115 native trees planted today just along the trail... from river birches to American elms, magnolias to oaks... we planted trees! FPUF had two other plantings coinciding this planting, in the Morningside and Lawrenceville neighborhoods today as well. Awesome work FPUF!!
We had the tremendous opportunity at Urban Tree Forge to work with a a few of our community groups to provide tree stakes for their planting endeavors. This year we decided to take the opportunity to stencil our web address onto our stakes so we can get the word out about our efforts to utilize our local tree removals for projects and people within our urban setting. We were fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to provide tree stakes for Wilkinsburg borough tree plantings, for the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, and for Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Some of our stakes were used for the tree plantings in the Lawrenceville and the Morningside neighborhoods, and for the East Liberty plantings a couple weeks back. Thank you for the opportunity to make a difference in our great city everyone...